The annulment of Britney Spears‘ marriage to childhood sweetheart Jason Alexander was the first insight into the singer’s powerlessness over her own life and has had a devastating impact on it ever since.
This is the view of now retired divorce attorney Mark Goldberg who is speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
The Pittsburgh based lawyer has revealed how a distraught Alexander turned to him after he was kicked out of Britney’s life following their now infamous 55-hour marriage.
He has revealed that neither Britney nor Alexander wanted the annulment which, he said, was forced on them by the singer’s mother and management.
And he has recalled how Alexander reached out to him in a series of emotional phone calls seeking advice after the singer’s mother threw him out of their Las Vegas hotel suite and his new bride’s life less than three days after their marriage in January 2004.
According to 80-year-old Goldberg the case stuck with him even though Alexander did not go on to retain his services because he, ‘felt sorry for the kid,’ who, he told DailyMail.com, was clearly in love with Britney and hopeful that they might have a future together.
Britney Spears married childhood sweetheart Jason Alexander in Las Vegas in 2004, but it was annulled 55 hours later
Former divorce attorney Mark Goldberg reveals that neither Britney nor Alexander wanted the annulment which, he said, was forced on them by the singer’s mother Lynne and management
Britney made headlines with her bombshell testimony in an LA court last month when she blew the lid off the conservatorship in which, she claims, she has been imprisoned for the past 13 years.
In a lengthy and passionate address, she furiously demanded to have her father Jamie, 69, removed as her conservator and claimed that, among other things, the conservatorship has prevented her from marrying her boyfriend of five years, Sam Asghari, 27, or even removing her IUD so that she can have children with him as she wants.
Mark Goldberg (pictured) tells DailyMail.com how a distraught Alexander turned to him after he was kicked out of Britney’s life
Britney has now refused to work while her father holds legal sway over her life and finances.
Last week she won a significant victory when the court granted her the right to choose her own attorney and she retained Matthew Rosengart. He took over from court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham who drew a salary of more than $500,000 a year during his tenure and saw earlier efforts to have Jamie removed stall when he failed to file the singer’s petition in a timely fashion.
On Sunday Spears, 39, was seen sporting a diamond ring on her engagement finger as she picked up a coffee with Asghari.
Now, Goldberg has recalled the bitter end of her first youthful marriage in his dealings with Alexander, also now 39.
And he has backed up claims made by Alexander himself last week when Alexander, who grew up with Britney in Kentwood, Louisiana, said that he was ‘duped’ into agreeing to an annulment and misguidedly thought that he and Britney still had a future.
According to Goldberg, ‘I felt sorry for the kid. He really hoped and believed that he and Britney would get back together.’
At the time that Alexander reached out to him Goldberg had a formidable reputation as one of the country’s top divorce attorneys and had been named among the nation’s top 100.
He said, ‘Jason was looking for advice. He was very emotional and upset. Britney had called him to come to Las Vegas. She was there with friends as I recall, and she paid for his airfare to come.
‘As I remember it, it was Britney’s idea to get married. He said they hadn’t been drinking or doing drugs – or at least they weren’t drunk.’
Annulment papers stated that Britney, ‘lacked understanding of her actions, to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to the marriage.’
But Goldberg contested that and stated, ‘I asked him several times [if they were drunk or on drugs] because if I was going to represent him, I needed to know all the facts and he was clear, they weren’t…they just really loved each other.’
Annulment papers stated that Britney, ‘lacked understanding of her actions, to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to the marriage’ but Goldberg said, ‘As I remember it, it was Britney’s idea to get married. He said they hadn’t been drinking or doing drugs – or at least they weren’t drunk’. The Little White Chapel in Las Vegas where the couple got married is pictured
Alexander grew up with Britney in Kentwood, Louisiana, and said that he was ‘duped’ into agreeing to an annulment and misguidedly thought that he and Britney still had a future
Britney made headlines with her bombshell testimony in an LA court last month when she blew the lid off the conservatorship in which, she claims, she has been imprisoned for the past 13 years. She furiously demanded to have her father Jamie (left) removed as her conservator
Goldberg said, ‘The two of them went by themselves to a wedding chapel and got married then came back to the hotel suite and their friends, all happy.
‘The next morning, they called Britney’s mother and all hell broke loose.’
It was, Goldberg said, the singer’s mother, Lynne, and management who were behind the annulment. He has no recollection of her father being mentioned back then.
He said, ‘It was the mother interfering in and inserting herself into her daughter’s life.
‘She came to Las Vegas, threw Jason out and got him a plane ticket home.’
Goldberg asked Alexander if they had consummated the marriage and he told him that they had.
He said, ‘I explained that we could contest the annulment. As far as I could see it wasn’t appropriate. They had got married in good faith, both had the ability to say, ‘I do,’ and they had consummated the marriage.
‘I told him that if they split it would probably be a divorce.’
Goldberg told DailyMail.com that he had a conversation with one of Britney’s East coast attorneys in which he informed her that he would ‘vigorously contest’ any annulment on Alexander’s behalf.
He told DailyMail.com that he had already reached out to a top divorce attorney in Las Vegas to take on Alexander’s case should he want.
Instead, Goldberg said, after three or four conversations Alexander told him that he was going to do what Britney’s mother and management wanted.
Goldberg said, ‘He told me, ”They want an annulment. I love her, I think she loves me, we’ll see what the future holds.”
‘I explained it to him. I told him we could fight the annulment, but I think in his heart Jason thought and hoped that if he went along with it, he, and Britney, the two of them, would get back together.
‘It was none of her mother’s business, but Britney was being controlled and has been controlled since she was a young girl.
‘She gave in to her mother’s demands. Honestly, I feel sorry for the girl, and I felt sorry for the kid [Jason].
‘The mother came in and threw Jason out, bought him a plane ticket and sent him packing. It was Britney’s idea for him to come to Las Vegas and he was happy to do it because he loved her.
‘But she’s been under the strict hands of her parents all her life – her mother, then her father who has made so much money off her. There’s no love, no respect there. There’s nothing there.’
Over the weekend Britney posted a video showing off some dance moves at home. She was spotted with a ring on her engagement finger as she stepped out for coffee in LA with Asghari on Sunday
Goldberg continued, ‘I really believe this particular event had a detrimental impact on Britney Spears’s life – the way she’s been controlled and the toll that has taken.
‘The whole situation stuck with me all through the years because I feel sorry for the kid. He really hoped they’d get back together. Instead, she moved on with her life and career and got married again.’
According to Goldberg, ‘Jason was confused because he loved Britney and he didn’t want to hurt her, but he was very afraid of her mother and management.
‘This wasn’t a stranger she’d just picked up. They had known each other for years. He thought if he played the game and did what they asked she’d come round, and he and Britney would be together.’
Instead, as soon as he signed the paperwork along with an NDA, Alexander found his calls to Spears went unanswered and that her number had been changed.
The star announced her engagement to backing dancer Kevin Federline in July 2004, just seven months after her brief marriage to Alexander.
The couple had two sons, Sean, 15 and Jayden, 14, before Spears filed for divorce in 2006 in a split that was finalized the following year.