Gary Susman
January 06, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Just 55 hours after getting married, Britney Spears was back on the market. On Monday, a Las Vegas judge granted her petition to annul her impulsive marriage to hometown pal Jason Allan Alexander, on the grounds that she ”lacked the understanding of her actions,” according to court papers. That doesn’t mean she was intoxicated at the time of her quickie nuptials at a Las Vegas chapel early Saturday morning, according to Alexander, who told TV’s ”Inside Edition” that both bride and groom were sober when they decided to get married on a whim.

Spears’ record label had called the wedding a joke that went too far, though Alexander may have taken it more seriously. He’d known the singer since their childhood in Kentwood, La., and while they had not dated in the past, he said, ”there was definitely romance there. She came home for Christmas Eve and invited me to go to Las Vegas.” After several days of partying surrounding New Years, the two 22-year-olds were watching ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in her hotel room at the Palms Casino late Friday night, he said. ”We were just chilling in the room, about 3:30, and we had so much fun, just looking out at the city and the lights, and we were, ‘We’re in Las Vegas, let’s do something. Let’s go get married.”’ The next morning, however, ”we both started realizing what we had done,” he said. ”We shouldn’t have went about it the way we had.” Within 12 hours, they had drawn up annulment papers, which Spears’ lawyers filed first thing Monday morning. By lunchtime, the marriage was officially over.

Alexander’s feelings for Spears were sincere, according to Jared Prescott, who told the New York Post he is the groom’s best friend. ”No one gets married as a joke, that would be stupid,” Prescott said. The marriage has certainly brought Alexander some unwanted attention, as his two scrapes with the law were made public in court records secured by TV’s ”Entertainment Tonight.” He was cited three times in 2003 for fighting at Extra Innings, a bar in Hammond, La., near Southeastern Louisiana University, where he is a junior. Prosecutors dropped the charge in the first two incidents; in the third, he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace.

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