LOS ANGELES - Embattled pop star Britney Spears has shot back at claims made by her former husband Kevin Federline regarding their two children.
Federline, 44, made the claims during an interview with Britain's ITV News, which is to be aired this week. He shares two sons with 40-year-old Spears - Sean Preston, 16, and Jayden James, 15 - who live with him, his current wife and their two daughters.
On Saturday (Aug 6), British tabloid Mail on Sunday shared snippets from the interview, in which Federline - a former backup dancer for Spears - said that the two boys had decided to avoid their mother for the time being.
"'It's been a few months since they've seen her. They made the decision not to go to her wedding," said Federline, who was married to Spears from 2004 to 2007.
The pop star married her longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari in June.
Federline added that Spears' social media postings - which have included nude selfies and dance clips - had affected the boys.
"I try to explain to them, 'Look, maybe that's just another way she tries to express herself.' But that doesn't take away from the fact of what it does to them. It's tough... I can't imagine how it feels to be a teenager having to go to high school."
But Spears quickly took to Instagram to speak out against her ex-husband's comments.
"As we all know, raising teenage boys is never easy for anyone. It concerns me the reason is based on my Instagram," she said, proceeding to suggest that the separation between her and her sons had occurred "long before Instagram".
"I gave them everything... Only one word: Hurtful," she lamented.
She also defended her use of Instagram as part of her newfound freedom to express herself since her 13-year conservatorship was ended: "During my conservatorship I was controlled and monitored for nearly 15 years … I needed permission just to take Tylenol. I should embark on doing (way) more than going topless on the beach like a baby."
"Reminder that the trauma and insults that come with fame and this business not only affect me but my children as well. I'm only human and I've done my best," she added.
Spears currently pays Federline more than US$20,000 (S$27,640) a month in child support, which will end once both sons turn 18 - a fact that Asghari, Spears' new husband, noted in his own social media statement.
"Kevin's gravy train will end soon, which probably explains the timing of these hurtful statements," he said, adding that there was "no validity" to Federline's claims about the two boys distancing themselves from their mother.
"The boys are very smart and will be 18 soon to make their own decisions and may eventually realise the 'tough' part was having a father who hasn't worked much in over 15 years as a role model," said the 28-year-old model and actor.