NEW YORK (AP) - November 5, 2009
"It's completely normal to go back. You start lying to yourself," the 21-year-old singer said on "Good Morning America" in her first TV interview following the beating. "I'll say that to any young girl who is going through domestic violence: 'Don't react off of love."'
Brown, 20, was arrested Feb. 8, hours after he was accused of beating Rihanna after the couple attended a pre-Grammy Awards party. He later pleaded guilty to felony assault and a judge ordered Brown and Rihanna to stay away from each other.
In the interview, Rihanna said she was ashamed to return to Brown after the attack. "That's embarrassing - that's the type of person I fell in love with. So far in love, so unconditional, that I went back," she said. "That's not what I want to teach people."
The attack occurred in Los Angeles' Hancock Park neighborhood as Brown drove a rented sports car. A Los Angeles police detective described a brutal attack in a search warrant affidavit filed in the case, stating Brown hit, choked and bit Rihanna and tried at one point to push her from the car. A photo of her bruised face was circulated on the Internet. In an interview with Glamour magazine, posted online Tuesday, she said about the leaked photo, "I felt like people were making it into a fun topic on the Internet, and it's my life."
In her interview with "Good Morning America," Rihanna said she soon realized that, as a role model to young women, her returning to Brown sent the wrong message. "When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn't be held responsible for telling them, 'Go back,"' she said.
"I didn't realize how much of an impact I had on these girls' lives until that happened," she added. "It was a wake-up call for me, big time, especially when I took myself out of the situation."
Brown's career suffered after his arrest, with sponsors dropping him and radio stations refusing to play his music. Both he and Rihanna had to cancel several high-profile appearances, including planned performances at the Grammy Awards the day of the attack. Brown has apologized to fans and has said he has repeatedly apologized to Rihanna for the attack.
In Thursday's interview, Rihanna said, "I am strong. This happened to me. I didn't cause this. I didn't do it. This can happen to me and it can happen to anybody."
ABC will air more chunks of the interview on Friday's "Good Morning America" and then Friday evening on the news magazine "20/20."
Rihanna's interview coincides with the debut of her new single, "Russian Roulette," from her upcoming album, "Rated R." It's her first CD since 2007's multiplatinum "Good Girl Gone Bad."