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Britney Spears was dealt a deathly marketing blow Tuesday in Los Angeles Family Court. Commissioner Scott M. Gordon didn't take Britney Spears' kids away from her and give them to former husband Kevin Federline. But he ordered her to take drug tests, receive parenting counseling and he instituted other measures to safeguard her children from trouble when she's with them. But it's this sentence that will put Spears in the most trouble public relations-wise: "The Court finds that there is a habitual frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol by [Spears]." (The court papers were first posted by TMZ.com Tuesday night.)

The perception now of former Mousketeer Spears as a drug-taking, hard-partying bad mother will haunt her just as the specter of pedophilia hovers over Michael Jackson. They are tags that stick with super glue.

Gordon ordered twice weekly random drug testing for Spears for the foreseeable future. He also ordered her to meet with a parenting coach eight hours a week, in at least two sessions per week.

Clearly, Gordon was impressed by the declaration of "secret" witness Tony Baretto, as first reported here.

It's just surprising that he didn't limit Spears' time with Sean, 2, and Jayden, 1, more than he did. But Gordon didn't only cite Spears in his order. He included Federline in his order for counseling, for parent classes and informed both sides that corporal punishment of the children was prohibited.

All of this comes as this column has learned exclusive new information about Spears' days before her disastrous appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards and what happened as a result.

Most surprising of all, according to sources, is how Spears was fired by her manager of one month, Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm. I am told that after the VMA show, Spears never once responded to Kwatinetz's phone calls or e-mails, choosing to ignore them rather than face the situation.

"All she wanted to talk about was setting up a tour, playing the European version of the VMAs," a source told me. "She wouldn't discuss what happened, and the Firm wasn't going to do any more business with her until she got counseling or went into rehab."

Indeed, the judge's order to seek counseling should be interesting since, I am told, Spears has resisted any kind of psychiatric counseling.

"Is she on drugs? I don't know," says one observer of Spears over the last several weeks. "I'd say she's bipolar, definitely. You never know which Britney you're getting."

Whichever Britney is operating now, she'd better figure out who represents her. Kwatinetz is gone, so is her publicist and her original divorce lawyer. But so, too, I've learned, are her music business lawyer, Gary Stiffelman, and possibly her booking agents at William Morris.


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