Britney: 'I Love My Child'

02/07/2006 at 12:10 AM EST

Britney: 'I Love My Child'
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On Monday, photos surfaced of Britney Spears driving her SUV in Malibu with her son, Sean Preston, sitting on her lap behind the wheel. The pictures raised obvious questions because her young son was not in a car seat.

A source close to Spears explains that the singer drove to Starbucks with her bodyguard in the passenger seat and son Sean in his car seat in the back. When the bodyguard went into the store to get the drinks, Spears took Sean out of his car seat and held him in her lap while she waited. Photographers approached the car, says the source, and became aggressive. Once her bodyguard climbed back into the car, Spears drove away while still holding her son.

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Spears explains her actions in an exclusive statement to People magazine:

"Today I had a horrifying, frightful encounter with the paparazzi while I was with my baby. Because of a recent incident when I was trapped in my car without my baby by a throng of paparazzi, I was terrified that this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger. I instinctively took measures to get my baby and me out of harm's way, but the paparazzi continued to stalk us, and took photos of us which were sold to the media. I love my child and would do anything to protect him."

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