Rihanna, the 35-year-old beloved singer and fashion icon, has been an inspiration to many women all across the globe due to her bold personality, sensational artistry, and body positivity. She has also been a flag bearer for women’s empowerment for more than a decade now. She is the winner of nine Grammy Awards and the second-best-selling female music artist of all time.
However, what many of her fans do not know is that she was formerly a victim of domestic abuse. A leaked photograph from the police department, obtained by TMZ in 2009, disclosed that the pop icon had suffered extensive visible injuries after her then-boyfriend Chris Brown physically assaulted her. Reportedly, on June 22, 2009, Chris Brown was found guilty of felony assault.
In an extremely emotional interview with ABC News in November 2009, Rihanna opened up about the abuse she sustained during her relationship with Brown. The singer explained that she felt embarrassed when people found out that she was in a relationship with him. She said:
“I am strong. This happened to me. I didn’t cause this. I didn’t do it. This happened to me and it can happen to anybody. There are a lot of women who’ve experienced what I did but not in the public. So, it made it really difficult. I just felt like oh my God! Here goes my little bit of privacy just exposed. It is something that nobody wants anybody to know.”
She further continued:
“So, here I am. The whole world knowing. I didn’t want people to think that that’s the kind of person that I fell in love with that person, that’s embarrassing. That’s embarrassing that that’s the type of person that I fell in love with.”
In her 2009 interview, Rihanna opened up about “lying” to herself “the minute the physical wounds” disappeared
During her 2009 interview with ABC News, Rihanna spoke about how she went back to Chris Brown despite the abuse, because she was in love with him. She also explained how much she regretted it. saying:
“So far in love, so unconditional, that I went back… I stayed. I even went back after he beat me, which was wrong…That’s not what I want to teach people but again…. I’m a human being and people put me on a very unrealistic pedestal and all these expectations.”
“I’m not perfect. Also, it’s pretty natural for that to be the first reaction. It’s completely normal to go back. You start lying to yourself the minute the physical wounds go away, you want this thing to go away. This is a memory you don’t want to have ever again.”
The Umbrella singer further explained why she felt it was important for her to move away from the relationship with Chris Brown after the violence. She said:
“When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result into some young girl getting killed I could not be easy with that part. I couldn’t be repelled responsible for telling them go back. Even if Chris never hit me again, who’s to say that their boyfriend won’t, who’s to say that won’t kill these girls.”
“I just didn’t realize how much of an impact I had on these girls’ lives untill that happened….It was a wake-up call. A wake-up call for me big time, especially when I took myself out of that situation.”
Despite the emotional setback from the incident, the rapper continues to be a trailblazer. Her single track, We Found Love, was ranked as the 24th biggest US Billboard Hot 100 hit of all time by Billboard. Time magazine also included Rihanna in its 100 Most Influential People in the World issue back in 2012 and then again in 2018 as well.
As per Elle, the singer and fashion icon is currently in a relationship with her longtime friend A$AP Rocky. The couple welcomed their first child together in 2022.