Before Britney Spears’ very public downward spiral started, it was her relationship with her then-husband, Kevin Federline, that was making all the headlines. A back-up dancer with rap star aspirations, it seemed the public couldn’t quite believe that Kevin – who left girlfriend, Shar Jackson, pregnant with their second child at the time – was right for Britney, in any way shape or form. When the couple divorced in 2006, it seemed they were right, too.
But as Britney began to grow more erratic, it almost seemed a different side of Kevin emerged – the side completely devoted to the welfare of his children, Kori, 6, and Kaleb, 4, with Shar Jackson, and sons Sean Preston, 3, and Jayden James, 2, with Britney Spears. Kevin finally opened up to People magazine about what went wrong with his marriage, Britney, and what happened the night that Britney was at her worst – the night she lost custody of her boys.
On what went wrong with his marriage: “It’s hard enough to be in a marriage, and then have a kid, then kids, it changes everything. For me, I’d become more concerned with my children. Not that I ignored Britney, but my kids are always most important … I mean, we were having complications. I didn’t give her an ultimatum, but I was trying to work stuff out with her, and she didn’t even talk to me or anything and went behind my back and filed [for divorce]. [I was] completely blindsided.”
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On when he first met Britney: “I met her at a club in Hollywood, Joseph’s. Our eyes met and that was it. We just hit it off right away. I learned real fast how much of a whirlwind the press and everything was.”
On his happiest memory of marriage is: “Well, getting married. I never thought that I would get married but it wound up happening. That was a really, really, happy, exciting moment. I pretty much realized that I was giving my life to her, and I was doing it without question.”
On if he fought for custody of the boys just for money: “My first question to [my lawyer] was, “Am I ever going to be able to see my children?” I told him that I would spend every last dime that I had to make sure that my children are okay. That’s all that mattered. I didn’t know how much power Britney had. That really scared me.”
On how he reacted in January when Britney locked herself in the bathroom with Jayden and was later taken to the hospital: “That whole night is a blur. You want to talk about one of my lowest points of depression, that was probably one of them. I was very, very worried for her ’cause I care about her. That’s the mother of my children. Just because I’m not in love with her doesn’t mean that I don’t love her. I’m definitely rooting for her. There’s nothing more that I want than for her to be in the best health and doing what she loves to do.”
On if things are getting better: “Oh, man, it’s totally turning around. It works out that [the kids] get to see her. There’s structure over there, there’s structure at my house. We’re trying to keep the same type of schedule. It doesn’t have to be completely perfect, but the foundation is there.”
On Britney’s comment in her MTV documentary that Kevin “started to do things for himself, and I just never saw him anymore.”: “I was on the road promoting my CD. I was trying to be the working dad. I wanted my kids to look up to me. I’m out there trying to provide for my family. Even if they don’t need it, it’s not about the money; it’s about showing your children. I mean, we were having complications. I didn’t give her an ultimatum, but I was trying to work stuff out with her, and she didn’t even talk to me or anything and went behind my back and filed [for divorce.] [I was] completely blindsided. It was a huge shock. She’d just had Jayden, and I’d been working for over a year. I did everything that I could to cater around the whole situation: built a recording studio in the house, made sure that I could always work at home, try to help out as much as I can. It just…I don’t know, I guess it wasn’t enough.”
On Britney saying they “wed for the wrong reasons”: “I really don’t understand it. I can’t really tell you how it was for her, but I know for me, I fell in love. And I loved the idea that I was in love and got married and had two beautiful children. If that’s what she’s talking about, I don’t know, I still don’t get it.
On if he felt he could provide a more stable environment than the boys had with their mother: “Yes. But at the same time, a reason why we ended up going through the custody battle was because I wanted my kids to have a mom and love her. I don’t want to do this by myself. Part of the whole thing was to get her safe and get her to where she will always be there. Because there are points in time where the whole world didn’t know whether or not she would be around for them.”
On what he thought when things started to unravel for Britney: “It was tough. I was definitely worried. There are a lot of people who stepped up to the plate. I know my mom has helped me out a lot with this. I was glad that Britney’s parents could come over and see the kids.”
On how he reminded the boys of their mom when she was hospitalized and didn’t see them for seven weeks: “I talked to the kids all the time about mom. And I had pictures of her and us and the kids in the house. Sometimes we’ll go to bed and Preston will point to a picture and say, “Baby and Mama and Dada.” I don’t know how they came through it, but thank God they have.”
On what Preston and Jayden’s everyday is like: “Pretty much everything at my house is catered to the kids. In the dining room there’s a train we got them last Christmas that they can actually ride around on. On one of their days off from preschool, I try to make sure that I get them out of the house, to the zoo or the aquarium. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have the paparazzi follow us. If I let them swim in the pool all year around, they’d be in it every day. I try not to let them watch too much TV. Anything from Spongebob to Sesame Street. Preston will also watch NASCAR. The kid wants to be a racecar driver. He gets in his car seat and says, “Daddy, go faster!” They’re really into cars, both of them. They also like to jump off the couches and try to land on a beanbag. They’re boys’ boys.
On their personalities: Preston’s sensitive; his feelings get hurt real easy. He is the one that is always under my wing; he doesn’t want to go anywhere without Daddy. If his shirt gets dirty, he wants to change it. He’ll also tell you whether or not he’s going to wear an outfit you picked out for him. “No, I want those shoes, Dada.” And Jayden [laughs] – Jayden is a little terror. If Preston is picking on him – well, usually it’s not Preston who’s picking on him – he’ll just go and terrorize the whole house. For no reason at all.
On if he uses curse words around the kids: “Not at all. So many people are around the kids, who’s to say who taught them how to say the F word? The first couple times that you hear it, you’re just in shock. I’m not okay with it. I tell him that’s a bad word and give him a time-out. He says, “I’m not bad. I’m not bad. I not say bad word.” He doesn’t like it when you tell him something’s bad.
On how often he and Britney see each other: “I see her when I drop the kids off. Every now and then we have conference calls to discuss scheduling. After her dad got conservatorship of her, he had me over and I sat with her for a couple hours. I let her know I care and that I wasn’t out to get her. I was making sure she’s okay.”
On his career right now: “I’ve been working on a clothing line, Otzi. We’re starting out with young boys’ clothes. For the last two years, picking out clothes for my kids has been my life. Hopefully we’ll have it in stores by schooltime next year. I also have a reality show in the works. What I’m trying to do is let people into my life a little bit. But it’s not something where you’re going to see the kids.”
On if he still has feelings for Britney: “It’s good for the kids to see that Daddy does care about Mommy, and Mommy does care about Daddy. Because no matter what happens, there is only going to be one mother and one father to these children.”
On a possible reconciliation: “I’m one to never say never. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m geared up to go that route, but who knows what the future holds. You try to do the right thing, and hopefully everything will turn out right.”
Kevin also added some other quotes to the spread, saying he’s “strict when I have to be, playful and senstive when I have to be.I make brownies or cookies with them.” He also makes pasta, because the boys “love any kind of noodles.”
Kevin also admitted that he “worried about Preston through the divorce. He’s smart. He sees what’s going on.”
Kevin’s house has a pool and a large playroom. “My main thing is for my kids is that they get to live life the way – or as close to the way – that most people do,” and that it’s “going to be hard not to spoil them, but I don’t want to.”
Jayden and Preston spent Thanksgiving with Kevin and their half siblings at Shar Jackson’s home this year. “It’s always fun when they all get together.”
Finally, Kevin also had this to say about Britney: “Britney is an awesome mom. That’s one thing I never really have to worry about.”
To see a picture from inside the magazine, go here. And definitely at least have a look through the magazine, the pictures are gorgeous!
Photo: People magazine