Rihanna is opening up about her painful past to Oprah Winfrey.
In an interview airing Sunday on "Oprah's Next Chapter," Rihanna, through tears, discussed her past abusive relationship with singer Chris Brown, saying he needed serious "help" and she felt "protective" of him.
"I lost my best friend. Everything I knew switched, and I couldn't control that. I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help," the 24-year-old songstress said. "Who's going to help him? Nobody's going to say he needs help, everybody's going to say he's a monster."
"I was more concerned about him," she added.
Rihanna was left with bruises on her face after being hit by Brown in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February 2009.
Brown, 19 at the time and a rising R&B singer, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to five years' probation, community service and domestic violence counseling.
Rumors swirled earlier this year that Rihanna and Brown had reconciled, but no mention was made of that in the interview excerpts amNewYork had access to.