Britney Spears' first husband claims he was "tricked" into annulling their marriage.
The 'Toxic' singer was just 22 when she tied the knot with Jason Alexander in Las Vegas in 2004, but their union was annulled just 55 hours later, and now her former spouse has claimed he was "strung along" by the "dark forces" in the pop star's life, and believed their claims they could tie the knot properly months later if he went along with the plan to have their marriage deemed invalid.
He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "I was tricked by her mum, dad and lawyers into signing the annulment.
"I was told our marriage could hurt Britney’s career. I loved her and was a naive kid who had been raised to trust and respect my elders, just like she had.
"We were told that if we still felt the same way about each other in six months, then we could have a big, white wedding. They strung me along for 30 days, which was how long it took to get the annulment finalised, so I couldn’t contest it, and then they changed Britney’s number so I couldn’t talk to her. There have always been dark forces in her life."
The 39-year-old businessman believes the annulment was the first sign of people wanting to be in control of Britney's life and insisted her "nightmare" began long before she was placed under a conservatorship in 2008.
He said: "What they did to Britney and me should have rung warning bells.
"The men in black swooped in, along with her mum and other family members, and they made us sign paperwork under duress to end our marriage. We didn’t want to annul it. They lied to us. It was always about controlling Britney and controlling her money.
"She’s been living a nightmare far worse than anyone can imagine for far longer than people realise...
"If she could rebel and sneak off to get married, they didn’t have enough control. That’s when they started really getting tough on her. She was put into a gilded prison."
Jason insisted he and Britney had always "had feelings" for one another and when she flew her childhood friend out to join him in Las Vegas, they decided to marry so they couldn't be stopped from being together.
He recalled: "It was intense. It was 5am and we were in bed talking and she asked me to go on tour with her. I told her I couldn’t. I was at college on a football scholarship. Then she asked me to get married.
"We felt like this was a way we could be together. Britney was already feeling trapped, with everyone making money out of her.
"We figured that if we were married, they would have to let us see each other."
The couple sneaked out of their suite and rented a limousine to go to The Little White Wedding Chapel before consumating their marriage in the car.
He said: "We were on a high. We consummated the marriage in the limo on the way back to the hotel."
But the "s*** hit the fan" within hours of the newlyweds sharing their news.
Jason said: "There were lawyers, publicity people and the management people. They were all in dark suits and sunglasses. They took Britney in one room and put me in another, like a police interrogation.
"When she came out, she was a different person. It was like they’d hypnotised her or something.
"Then they started putting all this paperwork in front of us to sign.
"I trusted them. I was a naive kid. I thought I was doing the best thing for Britney. She and I had planned to go on honeymoon to Belize and she wanted to go straight after the ceremony. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t been so dumb. I wish we had gone."
The family then went to a steakhouse after signing the paperwork, but Jason didn't get to enjoy his meal.
He continued: "We’d just sat down when Britney’s brother, Bryan, came over with the confirmation number for a plane reservation for me written on a bar napkin.
"I had to go to the airport right away. I didn’t even get to eat.
"I’d arrived in Las Vegas on Britney’s private jet – and I left in economy class."