"Shaving her head was self-destructive," says hairstylist Corinne Asch of her client and friend (left, in the act on Feb. 16). "She was fed up, felt rebellious and was sick of everyone following her." Spears (right, wearing a wig in L.A. on Feb. 19) "is going to be fine," says her former agent Nancy Carson. "Her family is surrounding her, and they love her."
Looking back, the only thing anyone can agree upon about the day Britney Spears seems to have hit rock bottom was that nothing made sense – beginning with her after-hours arrival at Esther's Haircutting Studio in Tarzana, Calif., about a half-hour drive from her Malibu home. At 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, owner Esther Tognozzi had locked the doors and was cleaning up when she heard a bang on the door. "Someone said, 'Ms. Spears is here and she wants a haircut,' " Tognozzi recalls. "I let her two bodyguards in and then she walked in, cool as a cucumber, with no expression, like flat-lining, with a hood over her face. She said, 'I want you to buzz my hair off.' And I said, 'Honey, are you sure? Are you sure you're not just hormonal and you'll wake up tomorrow morning and regret it?' And she said, 'I want it all off.' I said, 'I'm not going to do it.' And she said, 'Then I'll do it.' So I walked up to her guards to ask if it's okay and they said, 'It's her hair. She can do what she wants with it.' "
And so she did. While Spears took an electric razor to her head, Tognozzi, 48, says she tried to "snap her out of her trance by trying to talk to her as a mother." She asked if Spears was feeling okay, if her extensions were hurting her. "She really didn't say much," says Tognozzi. "She kept shaving and shaving. The only time she showed any emotion at all was when she was done and she looked in the mirror and she got all teary-eyed and said, 'My mom is going to freak.' "