Rihanna: I Didn't Think Chris Brown Collaboration Would Be Controversial

Singer insists reunion with abusive ex was strictly professional

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Rihanna performs on 'American Idol.'
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Rihanna has told the British edition of Esquire that she did not think her recent collaboration with her abusive ex-boyfriend Chris Brown would be controversial. "The whole thing caught me a little off-guard, to be honest," she said. "Especially the amount of negative attention. Because it never occurred to me how this was going to be a problem, you know. It really didn't."

Rihanna shocked fans in February by appearing on two tracks with Brown, a remix of her own song "Birthday Cake" and a new version of his recent single "Turn Up the Music." The songs were released simultaneously, with the heavy implication that the two had reconciled their differences after Brown served his time for assaulting the pop star on the eve of the Grammys in 2009.

"I thought people were gonna be surprised that we finally did a record together, but I didn't see how people could think it was a bad thing, you know?," Rihanna told Esquire. "In my mind, it was just music." When the interviewer noted that some fans felt the singer was sending "the wrong message" to her fans, Rihanna became furious, noting that their reunion was "in a completely professional environment, and on a complete professional note.

"I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that's a whole different discussion," she said. "And if I ever do, then that's something that y'all have to talk to me about when – if – that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is. I think a lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect and they ended up looking stupid."