Jan. 30, 2008 -- After his public blowup with Britney Spears earlier this week, Sam Lutfi, her friend and sometimes manager, called celebrity news service TMZ.com Tuesday to defend himself.
Explaining the Monday argument with Spears in front of her house, Lutfi said Spears' family had showed up unexpectedly at the pop star's home and intervened.
"They have an agenda," Lutfi told TMZ, referring to Spears' family. "Their agenda is jealousy because they don't fit in. I do. They see her three times a year."
Lutfi has been labeled Spears' sidekick since he went with her to a California DMV in October 2007. It's unclear exactly what role he plays in her life, but many entertainment blogs have labeled the movie producer a hanger-on who is trying to control Spears.
Perhaps to put these reports to rest, Lutfi asked a woman who was standing next to him during the phone conversation, purportedly Spears, to tell TMZ that he didn't force her to buy a new $55,000 black Mercedes Benz SLK 350 that she reportedly paid for in cash.
Lutfi asked, "Did I force you to buy a car?" The woman responded, "No."
He continued, saying, "Do I ever bug you?" The woman replied, "We argue."
Lutfi did not elaborate on the cause of Monday's argument.
A distraught Spears jumped out of her car Monday evening — recorded by a pack of paparazzi — to get away from Lutfi who told ABC this week that she has "mental problems."
Spears' blowup with Lutfi left her sitting barefoot on a curb outside her home, sobbing and holding her little dog London while Lutfi continued to scream at her, according to Spears' paparazzo boyfriend Adnan Ghalib.
Ghalib said he rushed to Spears' home when she tearfully called him for help, pleading, "Baby, can you come pick me up?"
Ghalib said he was denied entrance at the gate to Spears' house, however, and calls to her many cell phones went unanswered. The photog said on the Web site of his employer, photo agency FinalPixx, that "Britney is safe with paparazzi photographer Felipe from Fame at the moment."
Felipe was not immediately identified, but apparently is another member of the paparazzi whom Spears considers a friend.
Spears' latest public collapse started a frenzy of hurried arrivals and departures from her home amid speculation that her family is struggling to find a way to get her treatment.
The chaos erupted after Lutfi's revelation Monday that Spears has mental issues. Barbara Walters on "The View" paraphrased a statement Lutfi had sent to her about how Spears "has been to a psychiatrist."
"He said that Britney is suffering from what he describes as mental issues, which are treatable," Walters said. "He said that she has been to a psychiatrist and that she, I assume, is starting some kind of treatment. She's been having mood swings, she's been having trouble sleeping, and also she is in touch with her mother, because we had heard she wasn't, and her mother has been very supportive of whatever it is Britney is going to do."
Shortly after Spears and Lutfi had their yelling match Monday evening, the Los Angeles police were called to the house to control the growing pack of photographers, a spokesman for the LAPD told ABCNEWS.com.
There are conflicting reports of what happened after that. Spears' parents, father Jamie and mother Lynne, arrived separately shortly after 9 p.m., although the father was left waiting at the gate for as long as 25 minutes, TMZ.com and US Weekly reported.
US Weekly also reported that Ghalib was later seen driving around Los Angeles with Spears and that he returned home with her shortly after 11 p.m. All this time, Lutfi remained inside the house.
Reports of Spears having mental illnesses ranging from bipolar disorder to multiple personalities to schizophrenia have swirled since the pop star's breakdown Jan. 3, when she was forced by police to turn over her two young sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline and subsequently spent two nights in Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Since then, Spears has missed multiple court hearings in the custody battle over Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2, and has frequently been seen out and about on the arm of Ghalib. Friday, Spears' lawyer scored more time to work on the pop star's other court case, in which she is charged with driving without a valid license.
Over the last year, Spears has been photographed shaving her head in public, furiously attacking a car with an umbrella and swimming in her underwear.