Rihanna Has Truly Played the Field With Multiple Athletes

Pop music stars don’t come much bigger or more famous than Rihanna. Since her 2007 breakthrough album “Good Girl Gone Bad,” Rihanna has sold an estimated 60 million albums and 215 million digital tracks. Over the years, she has had 14 number-one singles, while also winning eight Grammy Awards for musical excellence.

While Rihanna may have built her fame on the massive popularity of her music, she commands equally compelling attention as a figure of celebrity gossip—especially when it comes to her dating life. Over the years, Rihanna has romanced numerous professional athletes. Here we take a look at some of the most high-profile ones, while also checking in with her current dating situation.

Rihanna in light blue looking slightly off camera in front of a green background
Rihanna | Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images

A few of Rihanna’s athlete paramours

Back in 2009, Rihanna made headlines when it was announced that she was dating Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Matt Kemp. The two got involved shortly after the violent breakdown of Rihanna’s relationship with R&B singer Chris Brown. At first, Kemp seemed to be everything that Brown was not. As late as October 2010, Rihanna gushed to Marie Claire UK about how happy Kemp made her, saying: “The smiles come from inside, and it exudes in everything I do. People feel my energy is different. When I smile they can tell that it’s pure bliss and not just a cover-up.” Yet by the end of December, reports began to circulate that the two had parted ways. Apparently the tolls of a long-distance relationship simply grew too much.

In 2015, rumors began spreading that Rihanna was dating Real Madrid soccer star Karim Benzema. The two did indeed seem to be involved for a while, often seen hanging out together at late night parties. However, they never got over the hump into an “official” relationship. According to one report, although Rihanna loved Benzema, she was still too hung up on Chris Brown to commit.

2015 also saw rumors that Rihanna was involved with Formula One racecar driver Lewis Hamilton. The two were caught spending a steamy weekend together in Barbados. In that case, however, the affair never seemed to get beyond the “fling” phase.

A fascination with the NBA

Rihanna has shown a democratic willingness to get involved with athletes from a variety of different sports. That said, the NBA seems to hold an especial fascination for her. Way back in 2009, Rihanna was caught leaving then-Orlando Magic star Rashard Lewis’ apartment building wearing only an oversize short-sleeve sweatshirt.

At one point in 2009, Rihanna was also rumored to be spending time with then-Los Angeles Laker center Andrew Bynum. Rihanna quickly put those rumors to bed by saying, “I couldn’t believe they insulted me like that.”

A few years later, in 2012, reports surfaced that Rihanna was hanging out with then-New York Knicks player J.R. Smith. Sports Illustrated also reported that the two had “hooked up.” The affair couldn’t have lasted long, though, and apparently didn’t end on a good note. A couple of years later, Rihanna didn’t hesitate to slam Smith’s poor playing in an Instagram post.

Rihanna’s current dating situation

It would be something of an overstatement to say that Rihanna has been a serial dater for most of her celebrity life. Yet that all seemed to change in 2017 when she began dating Hassan Jameel in 2017. Unlike her previous affairs, an air of privacy and even mystery surrounded Rihanna’s relationship with the Saudi billionaire.

In January 2020, reports started circulating that the two had broken up. Seemingly within days, Rihanna had moved on, embarking on a new fling with rapper A$AP Rocky. About that relationship, a source close to Rihanna reported that she was “reluctant to put a label on it as it’s so soon after Hassan.”