Britney Spears and Benji Madden: Hooking Up?
Now that Britney Spears' career is restored to its former glory, she's apparently focusing on getting her romantic life back on track.
British music newspaper NME reports that Spears, 27—hot on the comeback trail with her new hit album Circus—has been seeing Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden. Benji split with socialite Paris Hilton in November (though they've been seeing an awful lot of each other for a supposedly defunct couple).
Benji and Britney were introduced by Spears' recently reinstated manager, Larry Rudolph, who is said to have taken on the additional role of matchmaker for his client. The paper claims that Britney's father/conservator, Jamie Spears, and Rudolph assembled a list of appropriate suitors for their gal. Then Spears and the 29-year-old rocker Madden shared a dinner at a Los Angeles hotel suite.
"They've been on a few dates," a source says. "She appears to like Benji a lot, and he seems to really like her."
According to the whisperer, other lucky lads in consideration for the role of Brit's next boyfriend included Olympic swimming phenom Michael Phelps and Gossip Girl hunk Chace Crawford, both 23. Madden won out, the mole says, because he was "most interested" in meeting Brit-Brit.
Of course, with the new rules that Papa Spears has placed on his child, Benji may find that their relationship won't progress at the rate he's become accustomed to.
Britney's publicist Holly Shakoor, in a statement to E! News, categorically denies that Britney Spears and Benji Madden have spent any private time together.
“The claims are completely false," says Shakoor. "There is not an ounce of truth to any of it."
So don't expect Shakoor to be the publicist who announces Benji and Britney's wedding date.