This combination photo shows Jamie Spears, father of singer Britney Spears, leaving the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 24, 2012, left, and singer Britney Spears at the Los Angeles premiere of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" on July 22, 2019. Picture: AP

Dance studio boss Robert Baker has claimed that the chart-topping pop star was headed for tragedy until her dad James came to her rescue in 2007.

He told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "I've known Britney since 1998. I saw her at the height of her fame and saw her struggling when things got tough.

"She was spiralling out of control. She was going through the worst time of her life and needed help.

"Her dad stepped in and gave her the help she needed. If he hadn't, things could have been very different. I don't think she would still be with us today."

In recent years, James has been accused of trying to exert too much influence over his daughter.

But Robert has rubbished those suggestions, insisting he did his best to protect the pop singer whilst she was placed under his guardianship after her breakdown.

Robert shared: "All I saw was a loving, protective father who wanted to make sure she was safe.

"He's done an amazing job. Their relationship hasn't been the greatest, but he just wants what's best for her. I don't think he had any motives outside of taking care of her."

Robert also claimed that the 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' hitmaker wasn't prepared for super-stardom.

He said: "No one could really prepare her for the fame machine. She once came into the studio and told me, 'I'm the loneliest person in the world'.

"She said when she stepped outside, she didn't know if it was going to be a gun pointed in her face or a camera."