Rihanna was reflective and revealing throughout her “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night (November 6) as she spoke about her relationship with Chris Brown and explained that abuse was also a part of her upbringing, much like her former boyfriend’s.
“I said to myself, ’I’m never gonna date someone like my dad,’ ” Rihanna told Sawyer. “Never.”
The singer said her father was severely abusive to her mother in the past and hit her “numerous” times. She said she would unsuccessfully try to break up their fights, attempting to distract the pair by breaking glasses and dishes in the kitchen. The singer said her father even broke her mother’s nose.
Rihanna painted the picture of her and Brown’s early days together as filled with happiness. She said the “Forever” singer was her best friend but cautioned that falling in love with your best friend can be “scary.”
“The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other, equally as dangerous,” she said, describing their relationship as an obsession.
She said on the night Brown assaulted her, she was happy and alcohol did not play a part in influencing his or her behavior.
Rihanna confirmed that a text message from a girl Brown had a previous relationship with was at the root of their argument that night. She said Brown lied about the message and that she would not let him off the hook. “He had his back against the wall,” she said.
The pair left a pre-Grammy party and soon found themselves arguing in a residential district in Brown’s rented Lamborghini.
“It escalated into him being violent toward me, and it was ugly,” she said, clearing her throat.
Rihanna confirmed to Sawyer information previously detailed in the police report. She said Brown punched her and bit her repeatedly. She said she was also choked, but not to the point of near unconsciousness, although she said she did have trouble breathing.
“All I kept thinking was, ’When is it going to stop?’ ” she told Sawyer of the escalating violence.
She admitted Brown threatened to kill her, as well, but she told Sawyer he “was saying it to scare me.”
“At that point, I just didn’t know what could happen,” she continued. “He was clearly blacked out. There was no person when I looked at him. It was almost as if he had nothing to lose. He had so much to lose. But it was almost as if he had nothing to lose. It wasn’t the same person that says I loved you. It definitely wasn’t those eyes.”
“It was ugly,” she said. “I fended him off with my feet…but it was not like, it was not like a fight with each other. I just…I really just wanted it to stop,” she said.
Finally, Rihanna said, her screams prompted a to call the police.
“I was bleeding, I was swollen in the face,” she said. “So there was no way of me getting home, except for, my next option was to get out of the car and walk. Start walking in a gown, in a bloody face. So I really don’t know what my plan was.”
Rihanna briefly reunited with Brown in Miami approximately a month following the assault. She said she wanted to protect Brown, as fans were turning against him. But Rihanna was conflicted even as she attempted to reassure Brown.
“Everything about him annoyed me,” she said.
He asked her if Rihanna hated him, she recalled. She said she didn’t, but she actually resented him. According to her, this was the point where she realized she had to end their relationship.
Developmental psychologist Dr. Michelle Callahan told MTV News it’s important for victims to get to the point where they must recognize it’s time to leave.
“It’s important for young women to know this is not a sign of love,” she urged. “Violence, controlling behavior and abusive behavior is not love.”
Rihanna’s decision to return to Brown confused many once evidence of the assault became public.
“Even if Chris never hit me again, who is to say that their boyfriend won’t?” Rihanna said during the interview, calling her decision to reconcile with Brown “selfish.” “Who’s to say that they won’t kill these girls? These are young girls, and I just didn’t realize how much of an impact I had on these girls’ lives until that happened. It was a wake-up call.”
Sawyer asked Rihanna about the leaked image of her , battered and bruised, that appeared online after her assault. The singer said she doesn’t like seeing the image because of the bad memories it conjures.
“I get angry all over again every time I see it,” she said. “The whole thing plays out in my head, so I don’t like to see it.”
Brown has repeatedly emphasized that he still loves Rihanna and released a song after the incident called “Changed Man,” in which he apologized to his ex.
Rihanna, however, claims to have never heard the record. She said she still has feelings for Brown and wants him to be successful, but she seems to be struggling to comprehend her emotions, calling it an annoyance to still feel connected to him. She told Sawyer she was unsure if she could ever reunite with him.
“I can’t answer that question right now, ’cause you never know what the future holds,” she explained. “He was my best friend, the person I loved. We spent two years of our lives together.
“I don’t have a desire at all to be with him,” she added. “I don’t see how we could get back together. But I’m not God, so I can’t predict the future.”
She went on to add that there’s nothing she wants to hear from Brown at the moment.
Brown issued a statement to MTV News prior to Rihanna’s interview wishing her the best.
“I do appreciate her support and wish her the best,” he said. “I am extremely sorry for what I did, and I accept accountability for my actions.”
Rihanna, likewise, wished Brown the best and hoped he could work through his personal issues.
“I want him to accept this as a man would,” she said. “Accept the responsibility and find a way to not feel sorry for himself.”
Both artists seem poised to move past the dark moment in their lives.
“I’m glad it happed to me,” Rihanna said. ” ’Cause now I can help young girls. [I would tell them] ’Don’t react off of love.’ Come out of the situation and look at it third-person and for what it really is. And then make your decision. ’Cause love is so blind. It’s so blind.”