Best of 2008

She's Back! How Britney Turned Her Year Around

After a rocky time, the birthday girl is making music, winning awards – and spending time with her boys

COMEDY GOLD

Spears (left, with Neil Patrick Harris) appears as a daffy, obsessive receptionist on How I Met Your Mother, boosting the show's ratings when the episode airs on May 12. "She's been great to work with," star Josh Radnor tells PEOPLE. The singer returns to the sitcom for an encore performance. "I had such a great experience the last time I was on the show that I couldn’t wait to come back," she says in a statement.