Chris Brown and Rihanna at the 2013 Grammy Awards — four years after he assaulted her. (Getty Images)
It’s been more than six years since the night Rihanna was assaulted by Chris Brown. Yet it’s something the Barbadian beauty will always be associated with — and asked about.
In the cover story of Vanity Fair’s November issue, the songstress, 27, talks about involuntary becoming the poster child for domestic violence victims after police photos of her battered face were sold to TMZ — as well as why she took him back, which was because she thought she was his “guardian angel.”
“I was that girl,” said Rihanna, who petitioned the court to have her restraining order against Brown, who was convicted of felony assault stemming from the Feb. 7, 2009, incident, lifted. “That girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others. Maybe I’m one of those people built to handle s–t like this. Maybe I’m the person who’s almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they’re not strong enough, when they’re not understanding the world, when they just need someone to encourage them in a positive way and say the right thing.”
Rihanna and Brown in 2009 — the night he attacked her in his rented Lamborghini and left her battered on the side of a L.A. street. (Getty Images)
Yes, like other victims of domestic violence, she thought she could change him.
“A hundred percent. I was very protective of him,” she said of her first love. “I felt that people didn’t understand him. Even after … But you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy. You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you — because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give.”
Rihanna continued, “And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.”
What is the status of their relationship now?
“I don’t hate him. I will care about him until the day I die,” Rihanna said of Brown, who recently won another court battle — to get joint custody of his daughter, Royalty, with his ex, Nia Guzman. “We’re not friends, but it’s not like we’re enemies,” she said of the “Run It” singer. “We don’t have much of a relationship now.”
Rihanna tells Vanity Fair in their November issue that she hasn’t had a boyfriend since Brown. (Vanity Fair)
While Rihanna is open about the subject, which was controversial when it happened and even more so when they reconciled, she does have one complaint. She objects to having her name brought up when new incidents take place – like the Ray Rice drama. She cited CBS pulling “Run This Town,” her song with Jay Z and Kanye, during broadcast last year when the Rice scandal broke.
“Well, I just never understood that,” she said. “Like how the victim gets punished over and over. It’s in the past, and I don’t want to say, ‘Get over it,’ because it’s a very serious thing that is still relevant; it’s still real. A lot of women, a lot of young girls, are still going through it. A lot of young boys too. It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it? It didn’t sit well with me.”
As for her current romantic status, she insists that — despite what you read — she hasn’t had a boyfriend since Brown. She’s also not the type of girl to just have a bunch of one-nighters (“I would wake up the next day feeling like s–t”). And she’s looking for a gentleman and won’t settle for less.
"I’m fine being with myself,” she said. “I’m not even worried about it.” As for that special someone, he’ll have to be “a very extraordinary gentleman, with a lot of patience.” And she’s not looking for a hero to ride in on a white horse, either: “Probably on a black motorcycle.”
Rihanna’s interview touched on a variety of different topics beyond Brown, including NAACP chapter leader Rachel Dolezal, who famously lied about her race, representing herself as a black woman when she is actually white.
“I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit,” Rihanna told the magazine. “Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”