The Guardian: Chris Brown discusses abuse of Rihanna: ‘I felt like a monster’

In a new documentary, Brown goes into detail about the 2009 fight where he seriously bruised Rihanna and was later arrested

Reconciled … Chris Brown and Rihanna at a basketball game in 2012. Photograph: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

R&B star Chris Brown has talked about his past abuse of ex-girlfriend Rihanna, who was left bruised and bleeding after Brown attacked her in February 2009.

Brown was arrested following the incident, and was sentenced to community service and domestic violence counselling, plus a restraining order. In a new film documentary, Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life, he goes into detail about the abusive relationship, saying he “felt like a fucking monster”.

He said that he had intended to marry Rihanna, but that he lost her trust after he lied about a sexual encounter with someone who worked with him, that happened prior to their relationship. “She hated me after that. I tried everything, she didn’t care. She just didn’t trust me after that,” he said. “From there, it just went downhill because there were too many verbal fights, physical fights as well. Mutual sides… We would fight each other. She would hit me, I would hit her and it never was OK.

“There was always a point where we’d talk about it like, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’” he continued. “Like, ‘I don’t like you slapping me.’ If I go on stage I got a scratch on my face and I gotta explain it like, ‘Oh, no I fell.’ If you got a scar or a bruise you gotta put makeup on. I’m not ever trying to put my hands on any female.”

Discussing the specific incident he was arrested over, he said it came about after Rihanna became suspicious of texts he had received from another woman. “She’s fighting me, and I’m like: I’m telling you the truth, I swear to God, stop it. She hits me a couple more times, and it doesn’t go from translation: sit down, I’m trying to tell you the truth. It goes to: now I’m finna be me, and be evil… She tried to kick me… and I really hit her, with a closed fist, I punched her. When I saw it, I was in shock, I was like, fuck, why did I hit her. She spit blood in my face – and it raised me even more … She grabbed my nuts, and I bit her arm.” Referring to the picture of her injuries that circulated the media afterwards, he said: “I look back at that picture and I’m just like: that’s not me. I hate it to this day – that’s going to haunt me forever.”

In a 2009 interview following the attack, Rihanna said she “fended him off with my feet”. She added that Brown allegedly threatened to kill her, “to scare me”, and that “all I kept thinking was, ‘When is it going to stop?’” She characterised their relationship as “dangerous”: “The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other, equally as dangerous.”

Chris Brown and Rihanna at the 2013 Grammy awards. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

In the documentary, Brown also recalls how they kept their “fairytale” relationship secret for eight months before going public at an awards ceremony. “Our power that we had at that age, it was dangerous… real life rock stars, at 16, 17 years old, that’s dangerous, because you can do whatever you want.” He also asserts: “I still love Rihanna”.

Brown’s career was briefly derailed by the assault incident, with radio stations refusing to play his songs, but he has since had a string of hits including Loyal, Yeah 3x, and Don’t Wake Me Up. Brown and Rihanna have since reconciled and recorded together.

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