The big parenting news this week is that the messy and protracted Spears-Federline battle for the custody of little Sean Preston and Jayden James has finally come to an end. A few years ago, back when K-Fed was pursuing his dream of becoming the next Vanilla Ice, it was hard to imagine that he'd one day be considered the fitter parent of this fallen it couple--but several years, several panty-flashings, a couple of high-security hospitalizations, and one public head-shaving later, that does indeed seem to be the case. So, unsurprisingly, Kevin Federline has been granted sole custody of Britney Spears's boys. However, the ex-Spederlines have reached an amicable agreement that grants Britney more overnight visits with her sons--which is another sign that she is finally on her way to long-rumored recovery. (Previous promising signs include her recent good behavior on the set of a Madonna promo video and her successful recurring role on How I Met Your Mother.)
"The difference from the beginning of this year to now is astonishing," declared Britney's attorney, Laura Wasser, who added, "The fact is, [this custody arrangement] is a win for the family."
One rapper--albeit a much more successful rapper than Kevin Federline--who's had his own share of babymama drama lately is 50 Cent. Fiddy wanted to take his 11-year-old son, Marquise, on a trip next month, but Marquise's mother, Shaniqua Tompkins--who recently accused him of causing a fire that razed the Long Island mansion where she and Marquise were living--wasn't so sold on this idea. However, after taking a court-ordered drug test that came back clean, Fiddy & son are now free to go ahead with their planned father/son bonding retreat.
Unfortunately, not all celebrities' drug tests came back clean this week. First, Rolling Stones axeman Ronnie Wood returned to rehab on Wednesday for alcoholism treatment. Then onetime Guns N' Roses drummer Steve Adler, who is still reportedly slated to join the cast of the Celebrity Rehab reality series spinoff Sober Living, was arrested in L.A. on Friday for narcotics possession. And also on Friday, Barenaked Ladies singer/guitarist Steven Page was arrested in upstate New York and charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana.
The latter arrest is perhaps the most troubling, or at least the most surprising--after all, it's no big shocker to learn that a Stone or the dude kicked out of GNR for an alleged heroin habit was caught in an unsober state, but it's a bit more unusual to learn the same about a guy from BNL, whose latest project is a CHILDREN'S ALBUM.
As a result, Barenaked Ladies have pulled out of the "Disney Music Block Party" charity concert taking place in Long Island next month. Maybe BNL's old hit "If I Had A Million Dollars" should now be retitled "If I Had A Million Dollars (I'd Hire The Best Lawyer In Town)." Perhaps Mark Vincent Kaplan is available now?
Incidentally, some sort of drug-related arrest warrant was also issued for Pete Doherty this week. But we're not even including that in our "Top 10 Stories" list below, because quite frankly, with Pete it would probably be bigger news if an arrest warrant wasn't issued for him...
One other pop star who's dealt with both drug and custody battles in her past is Whitney Houston...but according to a recent celebrity sighting, she's looking healthy and happy these days. Whitney and her daughter Bobbi Kristina were spotted on a New York-to-Los Angeles flight this week, gleefully eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream (we're not sure if it was B&J's new Elton John-themed flavor, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road), gracing their fellow passengers with an impromptu concert as they sang along to a hit Ne-Yo song, and "looking fab" according to one source. Whit is currently in the studio working on her much-anticipated post-divorce album, and it sounds like Whitney could give Britney a few pointers on how to successfully stage a comeback.
But one former pop power who probably won't be making a comeback any time soon is ex-Backstreet Boys/*NSYNC Svengali Lou Pearlman. For Lou, it's not comeback time--it's payback time. See, the boy band promoter is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence on a fraud conviction, and this week U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharpe ordered him to repay a whopping $300 million swindled from his victims of his long-running Ponzi scheme. We're not sure just how Lou is supposed to come up with $300 million when the boy bands he still manages, like US5, aren't exactly at the multiplatinum level of his former pet projects like BSB, and jobs in federal prison tend to pay between 12 cents and $1.15 an hour. Lou does have some incentive, though: For each $1 million he repays, he'll get one month shaved off his prison sentence. However, an irritated judge Sharpe told prosecutors this week, "Since the time of the sentencing, all you've gotten from the defendant is the smirk on [Lou's] face." So Pearlman's many victims probably shouldn't expect a check in the mail any time soon.
And thus concludes another confusing and bemusing week in music news. Come back next Friday for more headspinning headlines, and until then...goodnight, and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Take My Babies, One More Time - K-Fed gets sole custody of Britney's kids.
2) We're Sure He Doesn't Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys creator Lou Pearlman is ordered to repay his fraud victims $300 million.
3) Ronnie Wood: "Gimme Shelter!" - The Rolling Stone returns to rehab.
4) A Barenaked Bust - Barenaked Ladies' singer is arrested for drug possession.
5) The P.I.M.P. IS C.L.E.A.N. - 50 Cent passes a family court-ordered drug test.
6) Whitney Flies The Friendly Skies - Houston serenades her fellow passengers with a Ne-Yo song.
7) Legal Catfight - Yusaf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, wins a libel case against a U.K. news agency.
8) Stoned Rose - Former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler is busted for drugs.
9) He Be Illin' - Run-DMC rapper DMC undergoes surgery to remove two blood clots in his arm.
10) Elton John Gets Iced - He now has his own Ben & Jerry's flavor, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road.