Movie hunk John Cusack has become troubled pop beauty Britney Spears's close confidant in recent months - after the singer disclosed to him that she has a serious problem with alcohol.

The HIGH FIDELITY star, 37, has spent time counselling the ME AGAINST THE MUSIC singer, who shocked fans earlier this month (JAN04) with her Las Vegas wedding and subsequent annulment.

And Britney, 22, has reportedly found comfort in the series of heart-to-hearts with Cusack, whom she met through mutual friends.

British tabloid NEWS OF THE WORLD reports that Spears has told Cusack, "JUSTIN (TIMBERLAKE) is still the person I love and I sometimes drink to block him out.

"I'm taking these pills that I'm not supposed to drink with but I can't help it. I'm really worried what is happening to me. I need help - I can drink bottles of wine so easily.

"The last two months I've gone through hell and I feel scared."

11/01/2004 14:07