Rihanna and ex-boyfriend Chris Brown "still love each other," she told Oprah Winfrey as part of an hour-long interview that ran Sunday on Winfrey's OWN network. Rihanna was at once emotional and forthright about the night in 2009 that Brown beat her up, and her roller-coaster ride to fame.
The Brown incident was "embarrassing," "humiliating" and "hurtful," Rihanna said. Brown beat her up in 2009 the night before she was to have performed on the Grammys. He pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge and was sentenced to community service, five years' probation and domestic violence counseling.
"Everything I knew switched in a night and I couldn't control that," Rihanna said. "It was hard for me to even pay attention to my mind and figure things out because now it became a circus and I felt protective." The world was quick to condemn the man she calls "the love of her life," but Rihanna said she remained worried about Brown. "I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help," she explained. "Everybody’s gonna say he's a monster without looking at the source. Who's gonna help him?"
Reconciling with her formerly abusive father helped Rihanna to forgive Brown, whom she recently saw in San Tropez. She now considers the R&B star "a very close friend," she said. "We've been working on our friendship again," she explained. "We've built a trust again. We love each other and we probably always will and that's not anything that we're gonna try to change. That's not something you can shut off if you've ever been in love. We've worked on it little by little. It's not easy. The main thing for me is that he's at peace."
Rihanna also expounded on her mega-sized fame. "I'm living the life of my dreams," she said, though she was quick to add that celebrity hasn't become second-nature. "I don't think it will ever be normal," she said. The singer, who has been open in her music about her voracious sexual appetite, said such transparency was a process. Her initial attitude? "Fake it 'til I make it."