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NEW YORK — Television’s “Dr. Phil” McGraw says he regrets talking about Britney Spears’ mental health after visiting her in the hospital, but didn’t violate the family’s trust.
“I regret making the statement. It didn’t help. It didn’t work,” the syndicated TV psychologist said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Spears, 26, was hospitalized in Los Angeles after a child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline resulted in an hours-long standoff with police Jan. 3. Federline has sole physical and legal custody of their two sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.
McGraw said he visited the pop singer as a family friend, and rejected critics who accused him of practicing psychology without a license.
“I did not go there to diagnose her. I did not go there to treat her,” said McGraw, who showed up at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Jan. 5 as Spears was about to be discharged.
McGraw said he retired his Texas license after 25 years of private practice because of the demands of his “Dr. Phil” daytime talk show.
The Spears family has accused McGraw of betraying their trust by making an “inappropriate” public statement about the singer’s hospitalization.
McGraw had told celebrity news TV shows that Spears was in “dire” need of medical and psychological help.
In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, McGraw said his public comments after visiting Spears were intended to prevent rumors and misinformation.
“I wanted to stop speculation about what may have gone on in there,” he said.
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