"It can happen to anyone..." said the 21-year-old singer on Good Morning America in her first TV interview addressing last February's beating at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.
Skeptics who suggested that her speaking out was but for mere publicity and promotion of her new album should be silenced after watching. Heartbreakingly vulnerable, the pop star said that she waited until now to speak because she was ashamed:
It was embarrassing that I fell in love with that kind of person. So far in love."
There are a lot of women who experienced what I did, but not in the public, so it made it really difficult. I just felt like, here goes my little built of privacy. [I was] so exposed. [It is] just something nobody wants anybody to know. So here I go, the whole world knowing."
In the interview, she also admitted that it took her "eight or nine times" to actually leave Chris Brown, describing the long process as "a selfish decision for love that could result in some girl getting killed." Read: Why Do Victims Of Domestic Violence Stay?
For many, the relationship seems instantly recognizable. She stayed because she was in love, "blind love," and wanted to give and receive unconditional love. And so she lied to herself, hoping that as the physical wounds healed, so would the dysfunctionality. Eventually, however, she came to understand that even if Chris never hit her again that it would send the wrong message to her young fans, who look up to her as a role model.
"I could not be easy with that part," Rihanna said. "I couldn't be held responsible for telling them to go back."
Her advice to anyone finding themselves in a similar situation? "F love. Come out of the situation and look at it third person for what it really is, and then make your decision."
Photo via Bauer-Griffin.