Friends and regular musical collaborators Rihanna and Drake went out together after the MTV Video Music Awards in Manhattan Sunday night, sparking the latest round of speculation that the two are a couple.
Initially triggering such talk was Canadian rapper Drake’s introduction to eight-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna, 28, as he prepared to present her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. “We love the music, which can change styles from album to album,” Drake, 29, said. “We love the videos, which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all, we love the woman who hasn’t changed since day one.”
He then added, “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” using a phrase that in context could refer to anything from professional admiration to romantic love. “She’s one of my best friends in the world,” he went on. “All my adult life, I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me. She’s a living, breathing legend in our industry.”
E! News said the two disappeared together after the Madison Square Garden ceremony and were seen around 3:15 a.m. at the West 14th Street club Up&Down, where fellow VMA attendees model Hailey Baldwin, Victoria’s Secret Angels Taylor Hill and Jasmine Tookes, and actor Jaden Smith were spotted.
Drake, a Grammy winner in his own right, around the same time posted an Instagram photo of himself kissing Rihanna with Toronto’s CN Tower in the background. “This is a night for us all to be thankful for what you have done for us! You have affected so many of our lives in the best way possible. Tonight we celebrate you! @badgalriri,” he concluded, using Rihanna’s Instagram handle.
Persistent relationship rumors reignited in May after Rihanna and Drake’s duet of her hit song “Work” during her two Anti World Tour concerts at the Forum in Los Angeles. People magazine asserted the two had been secretly dating for months, and noted that after the second show they went together to the West Hollywood lounge The Nice Guy, where they reportedly danced and seemed affectionate. Rihanna’s spokeswoman at the time dismissed any dating speculation, telling Newsday, “I read this story once a week.”