Troubled pop star Britney Spears is reportedly spending time with a photographer after being released from hospital over apparent substance abuse.

The 26-year-old-star has been followed by paparazzi constantly over the past year and the problems in her private life have been chronicled by the tabloids.

According to celebrity columnist Norm Clarke, Spears was seen at a restaurant in Los Angeles early on Sunday morning with photographer Adnan Ghalib.

The writer cites the restaurant manager as saying that the star was enjoying the company of the 35-year-old photojournalist, with whom she has been linked in the past, and was drinking champagne with him over breakfast.

Previously, Spears was taken to the Cedars-Sinai medical centre in an ambulance on Friday after being wheeled out of her Beverly Hills home in a stretcher. The incident came after police cars arrived at her house following the star's refusal to obey a court order and hand over custody of her children to her ex-husband.

Renowned psychologist Dr Phil Mcgraw, who said he had met the star in hospital for over an hour, said she had been discharged after spending one-and-a-half days in treatment.

Speaking at the time, he said the decision to release the star was "one of the worst decisions that could have been made" and that she was in need of "medical and psychological intervention".

Spears has been banned from seeing her two children by a court in Los Angeles after the judge ordered that the pop star's former spouse should have "sole legal and physical custody" of the couple's two sons.

The ruling means the singer will not have access to two-year-old Sean Preston or one-year-old Jayden James until the court meets again. The singer and her former spouse are involved in legal proceedings to determine the time each one of them spends with their two children.

07/01/2008 07:32:46