From the dramatic fashion statements to the sharp-edged radio hits, [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] has evolved over the past year from pop princess to rock star. While last year her personal life was the source of much chronicled drama, the singer recently revealed that these days it's her romance with boyfriend and L.A. Dodgers player Matt Kemp that keeps her grounded.
"I have a boyfriend. I'm so happy. I feel really comfortable, and it's so easy," Rihanna gushes in the latest issue of Elle magazine. "I have such a chaotic life, but at the end of the day, that is just my peace. It keeps me sane, really, talking to him and talking to my family."
Rihanna has spent most of the past year reinventing herself as a boundary-pushing artist; abandoning her sunny pop jams and good-girl charm in favor of gritty hits and a highly stylized image. Earlier this week, [article id="1641027"]"Love the Way You Lie," her collaboration with Eminem[/article] that laments the torturous cycle of an abusive relationship, leaked to the Internet. And in the interview with Elle, the singer opened up about her emotional state over a year ago when she sustained the now infamously brutal attack at the hands of former boyfriend Chris Brown.
"A year ago, I was very confused," the star revealed to Elle. "Because he was my best friend. All of a sudden, one night changed our whole lives -- not only our friendship, but our lives. I wanted to wake up one day and just not have that pain anymore. I wanted to be with him again or get over him -- it was either-or. I just didn't want to feel the pain, the confusion."
The superstar talked about the moody, black-and-white album art of Rated R, which she released in the wake of her "life-changing" experience with Brown. "I wanted pictures that represented strength and fearlessness but still femininity -- a strong woman who can be vulnerable. Every woman is made up of vulnerability and strength; no matter what race you are, no matter what you've been through in your life."
After lighting up red carpets with her daring fashion choices, inspiring legions of girls to lop off their locks to match her evolving pixie cut, Rih Rih is known as much for her style as her sound. When it comes to designers, the star said she favors labels with an equally intrepid approach to fashion.
"I respect designers who aren't afraid to go outside of the box," she said. "I went to a Jean Paul Gaultier show, and I saw girls who are thicker than me, beautiful and voluptuous and different ethnicities. That made me so excited. I thought, 'OK, I can work that, for sure.' "
What is your favorite of Rihanna's recent looks? Let us know in the comments.