Britney Spears could be dead if it wasn’t for her father Jamie, according to an old friend.
Dance studio boss Robert Baker thinks she would have ended up like Amy Winehouse or Michael Jackson if her dad hadn’t stepped in after her breakdown in 2007.
He said: “I’ve known Britney since 1998. I saw her at the height of her fame and saw her struggling when things got tough.
"She was spiraling out of control. She was going through the worst time of her life and needed help.
“Her dad stepped in and gave her the help she needed. If he hadn’t, things could have been very different. I don’t think she would still be with us today.”
Robert spoke out amid criticism Jamie, 66, had exerted too much influence over Britney, 37, and her affairs.
She was placed under his guardianship after her breakdown, but that order ended two months ago.
Now Robert, 56, defends Jamie, saying: “All I saw was a loving, protective father who wanted to make sure she was safe.
"He’s done an amazing job. Their relationship hasn’t been the greatest, but he just wants what’s best for her.
"I don’t think he had any motives outside of taking care of her.”
Britney – whose UK No1s include Toxic and Baby One More Time – shaved her head and attacked a photographer’s car with an umbrella as her woes piled up 12 years ago.
She later lost custody of her sons Sean, 13, and Jaden, 12, to former husband Kevin Federline.
Robert runs the Millennium Dance Studios in Los Angeles, where Britney rehearsed in her pop heyday.
He added: “No one could really prepare her for the fame machine. She once came into the studio and told me, ‘I’m the loneliest person in the world’.
“She said when she stepped outside, she didn’t know if it was going to be a gun pointed in her face or a camera.”