Rihanna Says Chris Brown Was 'Controlling,' 'Insecure'

Singer Rihanna talks about how their relationship became abusive in W magazine.

While promoting her new album, Rated R, Rihanna Rihanna has found herself publicly discussing the night then-boyfriend Chris Brown assaulted her. And while she goes over the event and its aftermath in frequent interviews, she has started to make sense of what went wrong in her relationship with her fellow pop star.

"There were control issues, insecurity," she says in the February issue of W magazine. "When people are insecure, they become very controlling and they can get very aggressive and in turn abusive. It doesn't have to be physical. Like, they would say bad stuff to you to make you feel lesser than them, just so they would have control in the relationship. It takes a big toll on your emotions and on your everyday life. It changes you."

Rihanna reiterated that she doesn't speak publicly about the assault to hurt Brown's reputation but because she wants to help other girls in similar situations. "At first, I completely shut down. But now I feel like this happened to me so I could be a voice for young girls who are going through what I went through and don't know how to talk about it," she explained. "It's not about Chris, about hurting him or sabotaging his career. I don't care about that part of it."

Recording her album became part of her healing process, she told the magazine. "I started to go crazy after about a month in the house, so I went back to work, and the mic was my therapist," she said. "With the mic, there were no negative comments, no negative energy."

And despite Rihanna's mission to speak out about domestic violence, she said she wasn't offended by the two sketches that made light of the issue on the episode of "Saturday Night Live" that she appeared on late last year. "Violence should of course be avoided at any cost, but 'Saturday Night Live' is a show that finds humor in every serious situation," she said. "So it wasn't offensive to me in any way."

At the ripe old age of 21, Rihanna is a superstar and she notes that sometimes people forget she's still a very young lady. "I've been paying my own bills since I was 17, living in a foreign country," she explained. "And I've always been a little older than my real age. People always said that to me, and I always felt that in my head."