LOS ANGELES – Britney Spears was quietly released from a hospital Wednesday, a stark contrast to the way she came in — with an extensive escort of more than a dozen police officers in cars, on motorcycles and in helicopters, paparazzi in tow.
Her incognito getaway from UCLA Medical Center required no police, said Capt. Sharyn Buck, commander of the North Hollywood police station, which covers the area where Spears' home is located.
"There was no media, no paparazzi, and no need for public safety protection," Buck said.
It apparently didn't take long for the cameras to find her. By late afternoon, a live television feed from a helicopter showed what looked like Spears and at least one other person in a black, late-model Mercedes-Benz coupe as they drove around Los Angeles, trying to evade the paparazzi giving chase.
The troubled singer was hospitalized Jan. 31 and held for a 72-hour evaluation that was originally set to expire Sunday. Her stay was then extended for two weeks, a person close to the pop star told The Associated Press, which may explain why she was able to avoid attention on her way out.
Until Feb. 14, Spears remains under the conservatorship of her father, an arrangement created after a judge determines a person can no longer care for themselves or their personal affairs. James Spears was named her conservator Monday, and he and attorney Andrew Wallet were made co-conservators of the estate.
As her conservator, Spears' father has been granted access to all of her medical records and authority to determine where Spears lives and who she sees.
Spears, who is in a child custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline, was also briefly hospitalized earlier in January after police were called to her home when she refused to return her sons to a Federline bodyguard after a visit. That trip to the hospital occurred amid a swarm of paparazzi.
Spears has since lost all visitation rights to her sons, 1-year-old Jayden James and 2-year-old Sean Preston.
On Friday, a court issued a restraining order against Sam Lutfi, who's been at Spears' side in recent months after the singer's mother declared that he held her daughter hostage in her own home, drugged her, took over her finances and controlled the paparazzi. Lutfi was ordered to stay away from Spears, her homes and her parents' and siblings' homes.
The singer has been in a spiral of increasingly bizarre behavior since November 2006, when she filed for divorce from Federline.