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Life of Britney Spears, Like That of Anna Nicole Smith, in Ruins

She is said to be battling bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Her career has gone up in smoke. She's embroiled in a legal fight for custody of her two small sons. And she has temporarily lost control of her multimillion-dollar fortune.

If there were a poster child for a life in shambles, Britney Spears would be it.

But she wouldn't be the first. Friday marks one year since Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in a Florida hotel room. Eerily, and potentially tragically, Spears — despite her wealth — seems to be heading down a similar path riddled with similar pitfalls.

Spears, 26, was released Wednesday from the psychiatric ward of the UCLA Medical Center, where she had been admitted Jan. 31.

A court had ordered her to remain under the conservatorship of her father — and in the hospital — until at least Feb. 14. But doctors determined that she did not pose a legal danger to herself or to others, so they could not continue to hold her against her will, TMZ.com reported.

Both her father, Jamie Spears, who now is in charge of Britney's finances and care, and the psychiatrist overseeing her treatment objected to the pop star's discharge from the hospital.

"We are deeply concerned about our daughter's safety and vulnerability and we believe her life is presently at risk," her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, said in a statement. "We ask only that the court's orders be enforced so that a tragedy may be averted."

Click here to see photos of Britney after her release.

For the better part of the last 14 months, Spears has been exhibiting bizarre, erratic behavior. She wore revealing miniskirts without underwear to nightclubs, shaved her head, attacked a parked car with an umbrella, left the scene of a minor car accident, ran over a photographer's foot and left her vehicle idling in traffic with a flat tire.

More recently, the Louisiana native has been inexplicably speaking with a British accent.

On Jan. 3, Spears had an emotional episode in which she refused to return her children to a bodyguard for her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, after a visit with them. Police were called to her home, and she was taken to the hospital for a brief stay. The incident led to her losing custody and visitation rights to her two children, 1-year-old Jayden James and 2-year-old Sean Preston.

Shortly before her latest hospitalization, Britney was seen sitting barefoot on the curb outside her house, cradling her dog and weeping.

But if her psychological and legal woes weren't enough, Britney has also seen her career and her status as a pop icon disintegrate.

In September, she flubbed her moves during a dismal performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Against the advice of her then-manager, she went on stage wearing a skimpy outfit that revealed her less-than-toned physique.

Radio stations, meanwhile, have been hesitant to play singles off her latest album, the unfortunately named "Blackout," seemingly because of the bad publicity and scandals surrounding the erstwhile pop princess.

Spears also lost a series of managers, publicists and divorce lawyers, either because she fired them or because they dumped her, claiming they couldn't work with her.

And, much like Anna Nicole Smith, Spears has been under the influence of a close "friend" who acts as her sometimes-manager, Sam Lutfi.

Britney's mother has accused Lutfi of trying to control Britney's actions and finances by drugging and verbally abusing her and of setting up photo ops for the paparazzi. Since Britney's Jan. 31 hospitalization, a restraining order has been placed against Lutfi.

Through it all, Britney still brings in about $737,000 a month, or $9 million a year. Her assets are estimated to be worth $40 million, according to her attorney, Adam Streisand.

She sits atop a financial empire, but now Spears has been declared incapable of taking care of herself any longer, which is why a judge decided to put the estate in the hands of her father and attorney Andrew Wallet.

A court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham, said that after he spoke with Spears at the hospital, it was clear that she wasn't able to manage her affairs on her own.

The singer "lacks the capacity to retain counsel" and doesn't seem to understand the court proceedings regarding her estate, Ingham said.

But Spears is said to be unhappy about the ruling that gave control of her finances to her father, since she and her dad have not been on good terms.

"She has expressed to me very strongly [her wish] that her father not be the conservator," Streisand told The Associated Press. "There has been an estrangement for quite some time. With him as conservator, that is causing her more agitation and more distress."

At the time of her death at age 39, Smith had been in her own downward spiral marked by prescription drug and alcohol abuse, mentally unstable behavior and legal tangles over her estate and inheritance.

Through it all, she, too, retained much of her wealth. In the end, one can only hope that the parallel paths of Britney and Anna Nicole stop there.