Federline performs his single "Lose Control" at the end of the Teen Choice Awards. "I think I pulled it off pretty well," he says of his performance, which prompts EW to call him "either completely clueless or just incredibly tenacious. And possibly deluded" because "I haven't heard of any sort of appearance that he's made where he hasn't been heckled and booed." Upon release of his debut album Playing With Fire, it sells a meager 6,500 copies in its first week.
Eager to prove that he is more Mr. Britney Spears, Federline ventures into acting as a street tough teen on CSI. As cops haul him to jail on the hit TV drama, Federline yells, "Free shower, free food, free sleep…this little piggy went wee, wee, wee, all the way home!"
After months of being photographed in messy ponytails and questionable outfits, Spears looks amazingly stylish in a short black dress and blonde bob at David Letterman's Late Show. Right after the appearance, she files for divorce from Federline, citing "irreconcilable differences." Both parents ask for sole custody of their two boys. While Federline continues on his promotional tour, Spears parties in L.A. and Las Vegas with temporary BFF Paris Hilton.
Federline plays a daydreaming fast food worker in a Nationwide Insurance commercial that debuts during the Super Bowl. Critics say the ad demeans fast-food workers. Taco Bell president Greg Creed reaches out to Federline in an open letter: "So here's our offer to you: Come work for us, just for a one hour shift. We'll get you a uniform, a custom name tag and show you what a great place Taco Bell is to work."
Spears spirals out of control. Her excessive parting and bizarre behavior ends with a stint in rehab. Federline steps in to take care of their two boys, and sources tell PEOPLE that he played a role in persuading Spears to enter rehab in the first place. Federline works closely with Spears' mom Lynne to help his estranged wife and brings their sons to visit her at rehab. On March 20, Spears is released from Promises.
After their divorce is finalized, Federline files for primary physical custody of their two boys and subpoenas Spears' friend Alli Sims, her bodyguard Daimon Shippen and former assistant Shannon Funk. In September, a judge rules Spears must undergo random drug testing, meet with a "parenting coach," and with Federline complete a program called "Parenting Without Conflict." A few weeks later, Federline wins temporary custody of the boys.
Federline is named one of Details' 50 Most Influential Men Under 45. The 29-year-old father of four shares the 7th spot with Anna Nicole Smith's ex Larry Birkhead – under the title "The Good Fathers." Details declares, "By being more visible presences in their children's lives than many Hollywood A-listers, they emerged as unlikely candidates for Dad of Year."
In early January, Federline is transferred custody of his children with Spears after she breaks under pressure and ends up in the hospital under mental lockdown. In July, after a year-and-a-half court battle over their two sons, Federline and Spears reach a custody settlement, with Federline retaining sole custody. Spears is granted visitation rights.
Now that Spears is getting her life back on track, Federline shares his side of the story on the cover of PEOPLE. "I was very, very worried for her 'cause I care about her," he says of Spears' breakdown in January. "That's the mother of my children. Just because I'm not in love with her doesn't mean that I don't love her. I'm definitely rooting for her." During the holidays, Federline appears to have moved on from Spears, stepping out with new flame Victoria Prince.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Debbie VanStory/IPHOTO; Robert Voets/CBS; INF; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage; Splash News Online; GSI Media