Rihanna calls Chris Brown ‘the love of my life,’ confirms that they still see each other

The rumor mill was right: Rihanna and Chris Brown still see each other. The Barbadian beauty confirmed that she remains in contact with her ex-boyfriend, who famously assaulted her in 2009, and her feelings for him remain complicated.

In a new interview that aired Sunday night on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the 24-year-old “We Found Love” singer said that since the restraining order preventing Brown from seeing her was eased in February, they have met up, including at a friend’s party aboard a yacht in St. Tropez in July. “We’ve been working on our friendship again,” Rihanna, appearing emotional at times, told Oprah. "We're very, very close friends. We built a trust again and that's it. We love each other, and we probably always will. And that's not anything that we're going to try to change. It's not something you can shut off if you've ever been in love."

[Related: All about the night Rihanna, Chris Brown secretly meet up on yacht for late night party]

As far as whether it’s romantic, Rihanna said it’s not. “He’s in a relationship of his own,” Rihanna said, referring to Brown’s girlfriend, Karrueche Tran. “I’m single. But we have maintained a very close relationship ever since the restraining order was dropped. We just worked on it little by little, and it has not been easy. It is not easy.” She admitted that when she sees him she works hard to keep control of her feelings for him, because she becomes so overwhelmed by emotions in his presence “It’s awkward. It’s awkward because I still love him,” she said. “My stomach drops and I have to maintain this poker face, and not let it get to the outer part of me. I have to maintain that, suppress that, but interpret it, understand it, and know that’s not going to go away. When you don’t understand those feelings, you can make a lot of mistakes.”

Rihanna was very candid when Oprah asked if Brown was her true love. “Absolutely,” she quickly answered. “I think he was the love of my life. He was the first love, and I see that he loved me the same way. We were very young and very spontaneous. We ran free. We ran wild. We were falling in love going in at a really rapid pace, and we forgot about ourselves as individuals.”

[Related: Rihanna takes Oprah on a tour of Barbados (photos)]

She also addressed her critics who have been disappointed that Rihanna would let Brown back into her life. "I have to move on. I have forgiven him. It took me a long time. I was angry for a long time,” she said. "I can't tell people how to feel about it. They're entitled to feel angry because it wasn't a good thing that happened. But I have forgiven him."

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