These days, Britney Spears has attained full-blown icon status and been granted admission into the pantheon of pop gods alongside Madonna and Michael Jackson.
But it wasn't all that long ago that it looked as though Spears was headed for the kind of tragic flameout that's all too common among stars who hit the big time while still in their teens.
Britney's 2007 meltdown is the stuff of legend, and enough time has gone by that it's easy to laugh at the shaved head and the umbrella-wielding attack on the paparazzi.
But the fact remains that all that erratic behavior was fueled by very real pain and mental illness -- and serious indulgence in a wide array of substances.
These days, Spears is a sober and responsible mother and a consummate entertainer, still capable of wowing diehard fans on a nightly basis with her acclaimed Las Vegas residency.
It's wonderful that she's been able to move on from her harrowing past, but those who helped her through that difficult time are eager to ensure that she never forgets it.
And it seems there are two reasons that they want her to remain forever mindful -- so that she doesn't go down that road again, and so that she remains grateful to the ones who helped bring her back from the brink.
According to a new report published today by Radar Online, several members of Team Britney appeared in a Las Vegas courtroom today where a judge determined they were owed large sums of money by Spears' estate in exchange for their services to the singer.
As you may recall, Britney was placed under a conservatorship in order to protect her from herself following her breakdown.
Since it seems to be working out for her, the arrangement has remained in place for over a decade.
And today, Britney's father, Jamie Spears, and a "co-conservator" named Andrew Wallet were compensated to the tune of $426,000 for their roles in keeping Brit on the straight and narrow.
According to documents obtained by Radar, Jamie and Andrew argued that they provided “stability and leadership” to Britney and helped keep “literally hundreds of people in check.”
Now, bringing stability and keeping people in check are pretty vague boasts, but Jamie and Andrew's lawyers went on to provide some specifics:
“By way of example, and not by way of limitation, at the planning stages of the Circus Tour, the Declarant instructed entertainment counsel to spread the risk of the Conservatee failing to fulfill her duties on tour because of some third party providing illegal substances,” they claimed.
“The financial stakes were high, and failure was not an option.”
That's legalese for "Jamie and Andrew kept Britney off drugs so that she could continue making a whole lot of money."
Andrew argues that he righted the ship of Britney's career multiple times, including at the start of her Vegas residency, when she was apparently quite vulnerable:
"At the beginning of the conservatorship, the estate was nearly out of fund and cash equivalents,” Wallet said in the affidavit.
“The estate and person of the conservative were in total chaos with tremendous liabilities. The problems were of epic proportions over a period of years.
"Extraordinary skills have been employed by all in order to achieve the results enjoyed at the present time. Petitioner has had many months at a time where all of his professional time was spent in services rendered exclusively to the conservative.”
Again, it's a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo, but there's much to be learned here.
For example, like every recovering addict, Britney is never out of the woods and relies heavily on the support of those around her.
Also, being one of the supportive people around her is apparently quite a lucrative endeavor.