( AP ) - Paris Hilton is rooting for Britney Spears.
"I wish the best for her and I just wish everyone would leave her alone so she could live her life," the 26-year-old hotel heiress-actress tells E! News. "She's a great mother and a great girl and I really care about her."
In an interview that was to air Tuesday night, Hilton says: "She's a very sweet girl and I love her to death."
Hilton and Spears were nearly inseparable following the pop star's split from ex-husband Kevin Federline.
The tabloid magnets were photographed partying, shopping and driving in a car with Lindsay Lohan in the weeks after Spears filed for divorce from Federline in November 2006. But their whirlwind public friendship seemed to fizzle out after Spears' fans complained that Hilton was a negative influence.
Hilton served a 23-day jail sentence in Los Angeles last June for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless-driving case. She vowed to focus on philanthropy afterward.
Meanwhile, Spears, 26, continued to unravel in the public eye after a rough year in which she shaved her head, checked in and out of rehab and attacked a car with an umbrella.
She was taken to a Los Angeles hospital by paramedics earlier this month after police were called to her home because of a dispute involving her two sons. A court commissioner decided to keep in effect an order suspending Spears' right to visit Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2.