Rihanna is a pop culture icon, and her music has been the soundtrack of a generation. However, behind the glitz and glamour, the singer has had a harrowing past that is a testament to her resilience and strength. The Barbadian-born artist has been very open about her experience with domestic abuse, including the night of the Grammy Awards in 2009 when her then-boyfriend Chris Brown physically assaulted her.
Content warning: This article contains a discussion of domestic abuse.
It All Started At Home
Rihanna’s parents had a turbulent and violent relationship, and her father was an alcoholic who physically abused her mother. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Rihanna revealed that her father’s abusive behavior profoundly impacted her as a child.
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In a similar interview with Oprah Winfrey, the singer shared that Rihanna was forced to witness her father’s abuse of her mother.
“He would beat her [her mother] — he would beat her so badly. I was like, I remember just being little and being like, ‘Don’t scream too loud when he hits you because he’s going to come for me next.’”
While speaking to Rolling Stone in 2011, the Umbrella hitmaker revealed that her father would also hit the singer stating that “he slapped” her “so hard.”
“He slapped me so hard. I ran home with his handprint on me. I couldn’t believe it. My mother saw my face, how traumatised I was. You know how, when you know you did something wrong, and you deserve to get beat? This was out of nowhere.”
Unfortunately, the trauma did not end there for Rihanna. When she was just 17 years old, she entered into a relationship with music producer Chris Brown, who was 19 at the time. Brown’s violent behavior towards Rihanna soon began, and he physically assaulted her multiple times.
Staying With Chris Brown
In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Rihanna recounted the night Brown assaulted her before the 2009 Grammys. She stated that he had struck her and that she had blood in her mouth and on her clothing. The photos of her bruised and swollen face that emerged after the incident shocked the world and brought much-needed attention to the issue of domestic abuse.
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Despite the horrific assault, Rihanna stayed with Brown for some time after the incident. In the same interview with Oprah Winfrey, she explained that at the time, she still loved Brown and felt sorry for him, even after what he had done to her.
The experience left an indelible mark on Rihanna, and it’s not hard to see why she stayed with Brown even after the assault. In 2012, Rihanna and Brown rekindled their relationship, despite his past violence towards her. The couple had a tumultuous on-and-off relationship that eventually ended in 2013. Rihanna revealed that the relationship was complicated, and she struggled to leave Brown.
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Pregnancy and SuperBowl Performance
Despite her trauma, Rihanna has not let it define her. Thankfully, Rihanna eventually found the strength to leave the abusive relationship and move on with her life. In recent years, she has become an even bigger inspiration, launching successful businesses and philanthropic initiatives and using her platform to advocate for important causes such as racial justice and education.
Moreover, in January 2022, Rihanna revealed that she and her partner, A$AP Rocky, were expecting their first child together. The announcement was met with an outpouring of support and excitement from fans worldwide, who eagerly follow Rihanna’s journey and celebrate her many achievements.
Additionally, during the Super Bowl halftime show, Rihanna surprised her fans by revealing her baby bump for the first time. The performance was a stunning display of her talent and strength and a beautiful celebration of her new chapter as a mother.
Source: Rolling Stone