A throwback interview of Rihanna discussing her relationship with Chris Brown has re-emerged online. It dates back to 2012, three years after Brown was arrested for an assault on Rihanna that left the “Pon De Replay” singer bloodied and bruised. Opening up to Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna revealed that she’d forgiven Brown and still had love for him.
Rihanna and Chris Brown had an on-off relationship that lasted for years
Rihanna began dating Chris Brown around 2008, per Billboard. But their relationship stalled the following February when an argument on the way to the Grammy Awards escalated to physical violence.
After pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna, Chris Brown was ordered to five years of probation and was required to stay at least 50 yards away from the “Work” singer.
However, the pair eventually reconciled. After a judge lifted the restraining order, they got back together in 2012 before amicably ending things for good in the spring of 2013.
Rihanna gave an update on her relationship with Chris Brown amid their reconciliation
During a 2012 interview that recently resurfaced online, Rihanna sat down with Oprah Winfrey and admitted: “We’ve been working on our friendship again. Now we’re very very close friends. We’ve built up a trust again, and that’s – we love each other and we probably always will. And that’s not something we’re ever going to change. That’s not something you can shut off, if you’ve ever been in love.”
She also noted: “I think he was the love of my life. He was the first love. And I see that he loved me the same way… it’s not even about us being together. I truly love him. So the main thing for me is that he’s at peace. I’m not at peace if he’s a little unhappy, or he’s still lonely.”
Rihanna admitted it took “a long time” to reach that place because she was so “angry” and “resentful” about what had happened. But she was ultimately motivated to forgive Chris Brown after making peace with her father, who abused her mother.
I repaired my relationship with my dad. I was so angry with him, and I was just angry about a lot of things from my childhood and I couldn’t separate him as a husband from him as a father. I felt like if he was a bad husband then he was a bad father. I witnessed a lot as a child. Yes he was (violent)… I remember just thinking one day, why can’t I get to a place where I can let somebody in? Why can’t I love? I wanted to know why. I would think, ‘What is my idea of what is supposed to happen?’ I wasn’t having a relationship with my father anymore so I wasn’t able to connect with a man past a certain point.Rihanna from her interview with Oprah Winfrey
Once she was able to close that gap with her dad, things started to make sense.
“I thought I hated Chris and I realized it was love was tarnished,” Rihanna continued. “It looked like hate because it was ugly, angry, it was inflamed, it was tainted. And I realized that what it was is I had to forgive him because I cared about him still. And the minute I let go of that, I started living again.”
The interview resurfaced on Sept. 2 when it was republished on Oprah’s podcast SuperSoul Conversations.
Where Rihanna and Chris Brown stand now
In 2015, Rihanna doubled back on her comments, telling Vanity Fair that she had felt a need to protect Brown. She added that they were not friends but also admitted they weren’t enemies, either.
Rihanna went on to date billionaire Hassan Jameel, but they broke up in January after a nearly three-year relationship while Brown entered an on-off with Ammika Harris, a model and the mother of his young son, Aeko.
[Correction: An earlier version misstated the timing of Rihanna’s interview.]