10/26/2012 AT 9:15 PM ET
Back in July 2007, Britney Spears drove to the Southern California set of Zoey 101, her sister Jamie Lynn’s show, to deliver a note to their mom: Stay away from me and my children.
Lynne Spears briefly relived that painful moment Friday in her first appearance on the witness stand in a libel trial in which Britney’s self-described former manager Sam Lutfi is suing Lynne for defaming him in her 2008 book Through the Storm.
Lynne described a complicated relationship with Lutfi spanning less than a year. The pair spoke “hundreds” of times, Lynne said, and it was Lutfi who brought mother and daughter together in a tearful reunion at Britney’s Malibu home three months after that note was delivered.
As Lynne calmly testified about the reconciliation, Lutfi, sitting in the courtroom audience, sobbed and wiped tears away.
But things became increasingly tense, culminating on Jan. 28, 2008 at the singer’s Beverly Hills home, just days before her second forced hospitalization.
That night, Lutfi allegedly told Lynne that he “grinds up Britney’s pills … [and] puts them in her food,” as well as cut her phone lines and disabled her cars, Lynne wrote in her book in statements that are at the heart of the trial.
Lynne said on the stand, “These were his exact words and this was the story I told.”
“I was very worried and I didn’t know what to do, so I was trying to get her away from there,” added Lynne, who acknowledged she didn’t call police for help at the time.
Asked why she described Lutfi as a predator in her book, she replied calmly, “He wanted to take over her life. He wanted her life to be his life. And [the way he dealt with the] paparazzi, that made him a predator, because they were all over her, in her house. She had no privacy.”