When Rihanna sat down with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night, the topic everyone wanted the singer to open up about was her much-discussed, tabloid-heavy relationship with her ex Chris Brown, years after he assaulted her over Grammy weekend in 2009.
And she candidly discussed the nature of her relationship then, and now, with the singer.
Rih and Brown began dating as up-and-coming teen stars and quickly emerged as one of the hottest young couples in music before that fateful night in February 2009.
Looking back on their time together, she said during "Oprah's Next Chapter," "I think he was the love of my life. He was my first love, and I see that he loved me the same way. We ran free, we ran wild. We were going at a really rapid pace that we forgot about ourselves as individuals. We needed something to completely shut that off. "
While the pair has been linked romantically in the years since they split in the wake of the incident, Rihanna shared that the two are just friends these days. "We've been working on our friendship again. We have maintained a very close friendship ever since the restraining order was dropped. ... We're very, very close friends," she told the talk show maven. "We built a trust again and that's it. We love each other and we probably always will, and that's not anything that we're going to try to change. It's not something you can shut off.
Asked whether she and Brown are seeing each other, Rihanna said, "No, he's in a relationship of his own. I'm single but we have maintained a very close friendship. We've just worked on it little by little. And it's not easy."
And, that means that sometimes they have run-ins, including a highly publicized encounter at a party in France earlier this summer. "Yes I did [see him]. We went to a mutual friend's party on a yacht. It's awkward because I still love him ... my stomach drops, and I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the outer part of me," she said. "I have to maintain that and suppress it. When you don't understand those feelings you can make a lot of mistakes."
"I truly love him — the main thing for me is he's at peace," she explained. "I'm not at peace if he's not happy or he's still lonely. I care. It actually matters that he finds that peace."
Rihanna explained during the interview, shot in her native Barbados, that her own anger for Brown was a mirror image of the feelings she held for her father. After she "repaired" her relationship with her dad, she could then forgive Brown.
"I have forgiven [Brown]. It took me a long time. I was angry for a long time. I was resentful. I was dark. It was coming out in my music. It was coming out in my attitude. It was heavy," she said, explaining that she would push men away before she let go of all the negative events from her childhood, including watching the abusive relationship her father had with her mother.
"I thought I hated Chris and I realized it was love that was tarnished. It looked like hate because it was ugly, it was angry, it was inflamed, it was tainted and I realized that what it was is," she said. "And the minute I let go of that, I started living again."
What did you think of Rihanna's on-air honesty? Let us know in the comments.