Rihanna is clear-eyed and painfully aware of what fans and detractors must think of her very public, very controversial romantic reconciliation with Chris Brown. Opening up in the new Rolling Stone about the scrutinized reunion with Brown -- who assaulted her nearly four years ago -- the "Diamonds" singer says that her public image is less crucial to her than her happiness.
"I decided it was more important for me to be happy," says the 24-year-old superstar, who quietly began seeing Brown again in late 2011, eventually going public about their rekindled romance via Twitter and many joint, PDA-packed appearances with the "Don't Wake Me Up" singer, 23.
"I wasn't going to let anybody's opinion get in the way of [my happiness]," says Rihanna, who has been criticized by many for taking back her ex -- and the potential message it conveys about those in abusive relationships. "Even if it's a mistake, it's my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I'd rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it."
Lending fresh insight into the nature of the couple's epic romance, Rihanna confides to the magazine, "When you add up the pieces from the outside, it's not the cutest puzzle in the world . . . You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know."
She insists that the Rihanna and Chris version 2.0 is markedly evolved from the couple they were leading up to Brown's Grammys-eve attack on her in February 2009. (Brown remains on probation for the assault.) "It's different now. We don't have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about s--t. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don't want to lose that."
But Brown, she insists, will forever be on notice -- and she won't tolerate one moment of abuse. "He doesn't have the luxury of f--king up again," she says of the star. "That's just not an option. I can't say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I'm pretty solid in the knowing that he's disgusted by that. And I wouldn't have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility."