Chris Brown continues to speak out about the February altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna that led the "Forever" singer to be sentenced to community labor work, weekly counseling and five years' probation. In the new issue of People magazine, slated to hit newsstands Friday, Brown opened up about his continued feelings for Rihanna and the judge's stay-away order that requires the former couple to keep their distance during his probation.
Brown called the order "a little harsh" but thought his overall punishment — 180 days of labor work, including trash pickup and graffiti removal; 52 weeks of counseling; and probation — was fair.
"The law is the law," Brown told the magazine. "I am relieved to put everything behind me. [The stay-away order] might have been a little harsh. [Rihanna] knows me, and I know her more than anybody. It's hard."
Brown, 20, said out of fairness to Rihanna, he wouldn't elaborate on specifics of that night. But he characterized the couple's relationship as "great" prior to the incident. Rihanna, 21, the magazine reports, declined a request to comment on the story.
"[Our relationship] was very fun and energetic," Brown said of his time with Rihanna. "We did almost everything together, whether it was going to the movies or me trying to teach her how to skateboard. We met when I was about 15. I had more of a connection with her than anybody in the industry."
Brown told People that he never fell out of love with Rihanna and that he was grateful she took him back in March when the two reunited at Diddy's Miami mansion. The singer admitted it was difficult to carry on the relationship when the court ordered the two to separate; a temporary restraining order was granted in Rihanna's favor before the more stringent stay-away order. Brown also said he was worried Rihanna would lose fans over staying with him.
Alongside the Q&A, the singer is featured in photos with his mother, Joyce Hawkins. Brown's mother was the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of the singer's onetime stepfather. Brown has been outspoken against his mother's former husband and said his own physical attack against Rihanna did not help him understand an abuser's mind-set.
"Not at all," Brown explained. "I feel like he enjoyed it."
Brown also had a comment for Oprah Winfrey, who aired a show about domestic violence in the wake of the incident.
"I commend Oprah on being like, 'This is a problem,' " he said. "But it was a slap in my face. I did a lot of stuff for her, like going to Africa and performing for her school. She could have been more helpful, like, "OK, I'm going to help both of these people out."
Since the incident, a number of songs by Brown have leaked online that seem to address the situation, particularly "Changed Man," an emotional track in which the singer is apologizing at will throughout. In the interview, Brown confirmed that he wrote the song immediately after the attack as he was apologizing to Rihanna. He said he sent the song to her to show he understood his actions.
Brown said he continues to feel remorse every day over his actions and said it's taken a toll on him. He offered no excuse for what he did, saying he was shocked and upset when he saw the images of a battered Rihanna. Although Brown said he doesn't believe he has anger issues, he's willing to explore everything during counseling sessions.
"I want to understand my feelings," Brown said. "I don't think I'd get that mad again. I'd walk away [next time]. This has matured me."