Pop beauty Britney Spears has poured scorn on reports her year off was due to a personal breakdown.

The OOPS!...I DID IT AGAIN singer sparked speculation about her mental state when she took a sudden sabbatical from her career, after her painful split with former lover Justin Timberlake.

But Britney - who has recently returned to the spotlight - insists she was just spending some time off to recover from a heavy work schedule.

She says, "I've needed this break from music to rejuvenate spiritually, and just to play!

"But everyone's writing that I'm having a meltdown. I just don't get it. Maybe I'm changing, maybe I'm just getting older, but I needed some downtime to myself or I'd have gone crazy."

03/10/2003 19:26