Spears surprised everyone by returning to work almost immediately. She guested on How I Met Your Mother, recorded a candid hour-long documentary for MTV and released a chart-topping sixth studio effort, Circus. She was later given back some of her visitation rights and filed a restraining order against her ex-manager, ex-boyfriend and former attorney for allegedly trying to wrest control of her affairs from her.
In 2010 Spears began dating her agent Jason Trawick. The pair got engaged in December 2011 but split up 14 months later. While her personal life remained turbulent, her professional was firing on all cylinders. She scored a fourth No.1 single with “Hold It Against Me,” received the MTV Video Vanguard Award and was said to be paid $15 million to serve as a judge on The X Factor.