Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie" video has already raised eyebrows and sparked debate with its frank depiction of domestic violence, and given the history both artists have with the subject, many are now wondering if the clip is meant to be biographical.
After all, the "Lie" video goes to great lengths to show the depths of violence in a relationship, something Em has rapped about innumerous times in the past, and it's something Rihanna knows about all too well, after then-boyfriend Chris Brown assaulted her in 2009. So the question most seem to be asking is: Are the clip's two characters — played by Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox — actually meant to represent Em and Rihanna?
To find out, MTV News went directly to the man responsible for the video (and its concept), director Joseph Kahn, who told us in no uncertain terms that, while there's a message behind "Lie," it has nothing to do with what's gone on in either artist's personal life.
"There are definitely things in both Rihanna and Eminem's [lives] that we have to be very sensitive about when we were making this video, [but] it's not a story about Eminem or Rihanna," he said. "It's a specific thing that I created for Dominic and Megan to play two people with very specific story lines to each other. These are fictional characters in my head but obviously based on real human beings."
So while he denies that Monaghan and Fox are playing Eminem and Rihanna in the video, Kahn said he can understand why fans might think that. After all, not only does the clip deal with an emotionally sensitive issue, but he happens to have a rather unique perspective on the lives of his musical stars.
"The subject matter is some of the most complex stuff I've ever handled ... [and] obviously there are parallels, in terms of the song, with Eminem's personal life and Rihanna's personal life," he said. "And I had actually, like last year, been working with Chris Brown ... so I'm in the middle of all this stuff, and I have to be very, very careful with how I tread. But ultimately, if you really look at the video, it's not about anybody in particular. ... It's a story specific to two characters I created."
Did you think the "Love the Way You Lie" clip was about Em and Rihanna? Let us know in the comments.