Court papers filed Nov. 7 in Los Angeles list the date of the couple's separation as Nov. 6. Spears, 24, hardly seemed despondent on that day, showing off a newly slim figure and chic blonde bob during a surprise appearance on Late Night with David Letterman in New York City. Federline, 28, was also in town, promoting his debut album, Playing With Fire, and surprisingly reflective single, America's Most Hated. Spears has requested custody of the couple's two sons, one-year old Sean Preston and two-month old Jayden James, with visitation rights for Federline. The couple signed a pre-nuptial agreement (thanks, Mama Spears!), and so divvying up the singer's bubble-gum-pop millions should not be an issue.
The pairing of the midriff-baring star and white-undershirt-and-stubble-clad dancer began in 2004 with all the hallmarks of a relationship meant to last just until Federline's first album release party. Spears and K-Fed, as he was dubbed, started dating months after she annulled a quickie Las Vegas wedding to childhood friend Jason Alexander and before Federline's ex-girlfriend Shar Jackson gave birth to his second child. At Spears and Federline's September 2004 wedding, the groom gave his attendants white tracksuits with the word "Pimp" written on the back, and revelers dined on chicken wings. The newlyweds shared home videos of their courtship on a reality show, Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. Spears talked in often icky detail about her sex life to reporters and was frequently photographed barefoot in public. Before long, she was pregnant, too.
The young mom soon grew tired of the media attention, however, when it seemed to focus on her parenting ineptitude driving with baby on lap, tripping with child in hand and her husband's single-guy-style partying. Federline seemed to spend more time on apparently unproductive pursuits, like hanging out in Las Vegas, serving as the celebrity advocate for the preservation of the penny and challenging the occasional rival to a nightclub dance-off. In an interview with Dateline in June, belly full with her second child, Spears told Matt Lauer, "I feel like I'm a target." When asked if she thought people were rooting against her marriage, the weepy mother said, "If they are that's sad. I think everybody should be 'pro love.'"
Pro love or no, Spears will be joining a growing group of powerful celebrity women who have recently split from their less successful husbands, including Reese Witherspoon (from Ryan Phillippe) and Hilary Swank (from Chad Lowe). Federline, meanwhile, has plans to write an autobiography. Something tells us the last chapter will be the one worth reading.