Spears loses custody of children to ex-spouse

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LOS ANGELES, Oct 2 (Reuters) A judge ordered that pop star Britney Spears' ex-husband, Kevin Federline, take physical custody of their two children until further notice, starting tomorrow, court documents said.

The same judge, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon, ordered Spears two weeks ago to undergo random drug testing and to hire a parenting coach after finding evidence of ''habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol'' by her.

His latest yesterday's order stated that Federline ''is to retain physical custody of the minor children (starting at noon) on Wednesday ... until further order of the court.'' Gordon set another hearing in the matter for tomorrow.

Spears, 25, and Federline, 29, whose divorce was finalised in July, are embroiled in a bitter battle over custody of their two sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.

Adding to Spears' legal woes, the singer was charged on Sept. 21 with leaving the scene of an accident after police said she ran into a parked car last month and was driving without a valid license.

Representatives for Spears and Federline were not immediately available for comment.

Since filing for divorce last November, Spears has made headlines with a steady stream of erratic behavior -- shaving her head bald before entering rehab, firing staff and stripping down to her underwear for an impromptu ocean swim in front of photographers, among other incidents.

Earlier this month, her highly anticipated comeback appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards was widely panned as an embarrassing flop, though her latest single, ''Gimme More,'' climbing the radio charts.

Since Thursday, the song, a single from her upcoming untitled album, has ranked as the most downloaded track on Apple Computer's iTunes online music store.

Reuters MP VP0607

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