Chris Brown says he was blindsided by his own brutal assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna in February of this year. "I never, ever had problems with anger," he tells Robin Roberts in a Friday interview for ABC News 20/20. "No domestic violence with any of my past girlfriends or any altercations." The 20 year-old singer says, "I was never that kind of person...It's like, 'How could I be that person?'"
Promoting his upcoming album Graffiti (on the heels of Rihanna's own comeback CD, Rated R), Brown concedes that "I was wrong for what I did...I would definitely say that it's not something that I look past or look over. Something that's really, really touchy." He adds: "I'm really sorry for -- for what went down."
This is not Brown's first apology for the attack, of course. When he took to YouTube in July to declare, "I am very sad and very ashamed of what I've done," many criticized it -- including Rihanna, who later noted her ex looked like he was "reading off a TelePrompter."
Brown tells Roberts that, indeed, he was heavily coached for "three or four days" by PR advisors for that online statement. "My head wasn't really giving me a chance to be me," Brown says. "It was genuinely from me, but it wasn't projected genuinely."
Of Brown's brief and controversial reunion with Rihanna weeks after the violent incident, he explains to Roberts that he wrote a song called "Changed Man" for his girlfriend. When she heard it, he says she broke into tears.
"I played the song for her when I first wrote it. And she cried."
And hearing Rihanna's critical remarks today, Brown says, is "really difficult...It hurts. It's just something that I have to be responsible for."
As part of his sentencing, Brown is required to stay 100 yards away from Rihanna unless they are attending music industry events. They don't communicate, he says. "I've said, like, everything that I can with me and her," he explains. "Me and her have talked. Me and her have spoken about the situation," he said. "And she knows how sorry I am."