Britney Pap-Happy with Her New Guy
01/03/2008 AT 08:00 AM EST
The troubled pop star has spent recent weeks with a photographer from the crowd of paparazzi following her day and night. They've been seen going into two hotels together, most recently early Wednesday in Palm Springs before returning to her home later in the day.
Spears, 26, and Adnan Ghalib, 35, who works for an agency called FinalPixx, checked into the Le Parker Meridien Hotel at 2:30 a.m., a source says.
Wearing a black wig and sunglasses, Spears went to one of the $1,200-a-night-plus villas, with Ghalib and two other men – apparently security guards – following them.
"There was nothing romantic going on with Adnan," says the source. "She was distracted, clicking away on her PDA."
They were seen checking out five hours later, at 7:30 a.m.
Ghalib has declined to comment. But he told ABC's 20/20 that he's made up to $200,000 a year as a photographer following Spears. He called her "awesome."
"I think she's a great person," he told the show. "It's unfortunate that she's the way she is, because of the people she surrounds herself with."
Ghalilb, who is now being photographed by his longtime colleagues, was first seen with Spears at a hotel on Dec. 22 when they were spotted at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Six days later, he was seen driving with Spears in her Mercedes to a house in West Hollywood. He tried to duck out of sight in the car, but was spotted by other paparazzi who fired off pictures.
Reporting by BRYAN ALEXANDER, MARY MARGARET and PERNILLA CEDENHEIM