Books & Review
Updated: Aug 20, 2012 12:03 PM EDT



When Rihanna invited Oprah into her Barbados home for an interview on Sunday night, one thing was on everyone's minds: Chris Brown. Everyone wants the singer to open up about her harrowing, tabloid-heavy relationship, and the incident when ex-boyfriend Brown assaulted her over Grammy weekend in 2009.

Brown and Rihanna started 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.

Like Us on Facebook

Reflecting 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. "

The couple split in the wake of Brown's assault. But Rihanna shared that the two are still 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 Oprah. "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.

"No, he's in a relationship of his own. I'm single but we have maintained a very close friendship," she continued. "We've just worked on it little by little. And it's not easy." And, that means that sometimes they have run-ins with one another, 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 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 toward 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."

While Rihanna's candid vulnerability about her private life is admirable, her opinions of Brown, considering the abuse, are likely to spark fire. And they already have. The interview already has domestic violence charities in the U.K. criticizing Rihanna's comments and claiming that they could reduce the seriousness of abusive relationships.

Erin Pizzey, the founder of the Refuge in the U.K., told The Independent, "This sends out a very dangerous message to teenagers that roller-coaster relationships with violence-prone personalities are edgy and exciting. They're not. The relationship is toxic and unhealthy. Both are in need of help and that is the message that young people should be receiving."

Rihanna says Brown "made a mistake" and "needed help." She also admitted that she had "felt protective" of Brown following the 2009 beating. "I lost my best friend. Like, everything I knew switched - switched overnight," she said.

Three years after Rihanna was beaten by then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, the singer says she still "truly" loves him.

During the sit-down Rihanna said she is still concerned about Brown's welfare. "I truly love him," she continued." And the main thing for me is that he is at peace. I'm not at peace if he is unhappy or he is still lonely. I care. It actually matters that he finds peace."

Did you see the interview? What did you think Books & Reviewers?

Get the Most Popular Booksnreviews Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
© 2015 Books & Review All rights reserved.