Since he viciously beat her in 2009, Rihanna's ex-boyfriend Chris Brown has been to many Public Enemy No. 1, but the singer herself has never shown quite as much public anger. In fact, the pair are closer now than they've been since they broke up in the wake of the incident.
Three and a half years after the incident, Rihanna is toeing the line of understanding -- if not forgiveness -- ever more publicly, telling Oprah Winfrey in a widely-watched interview on Sunday that she "still loves" Brown, and while they're not together, she finds a million little reminders -- hotel rooms, road trips, etc -- of him all the time.
“I think he was the love of my life," she told the host. "He was the first love and I see that he loved me the same way. We were very young and very spontaneous. We ran free. We ran wild. We were falling in love going in at a really rapid pace and we forgot about ourselves as individuals.”
Since the restraining order barring Brown from seeing her was eased in February, the two have meet, including at a mutual friend's yacht party. They're not together -- Brown "is in a relationship of his own, I'm single," he said -- but are working on their friendship.
"We're very, very close friends," she said, trying to hold back tears. "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 gonna try to change. It's not something you can shut off if you've ever been in love."
- Chris Brown
- Oprah Winfrey