Chris Brown and Rihanna have dominated headlines for the past week, ever since Brown turned himself in to authorities for allegedly assaulting the Barbadian singer following a pre-Grammy event in Los Angeles on February 7. And though Brown finally broke his silence on Sunday with a statement saying he is "sorry and saddened" about the incident, many questions still remain about what went down.
How will this affect these superstars' careers? What will Brown do next to help himself if the allegations are true? And will Rihanna emerge as a victim or a symbol of strength to her many fans? On Monday (February 16), MTV News' special, "Chris Brown & Rihanna: Love in Trouble" went to music-industry experts, relationship experts and fans for the answers.
"They were like Beyoncé and Jay-Z for the junior set," Us Weekly's Ian Drew explained, capturing the image of the two singers that most previously held.
The Associated Press' Alicia Quarles said the pair were once "music's new royalty," but Brown will have a tougher time overcoming the incident because the alleged victim is a celebrity in her own right.
"Maybe the public could forgive him if we didn't know who [the victim] was," she told MTV News. But Quarles predicted that, to many of Brown's fans, the act will be seen as "unforgivable."
All week, a number of fans on message boards battled over who was to blame for the incident. And in the fan forum held by MTV for "Love in Trouble," Chandra Bonner, 19, from New York, said Rihanna would be "stupid" to return to Brown. "He can go to counseling by himself," she said.
"It's ridiculously hard to deal with this in the public eye, because people have to deal with it in the court of law — Rihanna and Chris have to deal with it in the court of law — and they have to deal with the court of public opinion," PR expert Howard Bragman told MTV News.
The Fader magazine's Julianne Shepherd expressed sympathy for the difficult path Rihanna will have to take to resurface from seclusion.
"I think it must be incredibly humiliating, that kind of experience," she said. "So it might take her a while to get back in the public eye. Especially to have your domestic problems out there on this level — everyone in the world knows them, is following every detail. It's going to be really hard for her."
Brown is due back in court next month to be arraigned. His biological father spoke to People magazine and said his son is remorseful over what happened and wants to know that Rihanna is doing "okay." Rihanna's father also spoke to People and suggested that his daughter "move on" from the relationship.
Dr. Michelle Callahan, who spoke to the audience during "Chris Brown & Rihanna: Love in Trouble," said that teens in relationships on rocky paths should pay attention to the warning signs. She explained identifying the behavior often happens when it's too late. Violence doesn't have to be the telltale sign, she said. Abuse is "any time there's fighting, restraining a person, jealousy, or control issues," she said. "A lot of stuff passes that we think is OK until a punch gets thrown, but it's not."