Rihanna: “It Never Occurred to Me” People Would Slam Chris Brown Collaboration

Actress/singer Rihanna arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Battleship" at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Rihanna just doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

In a new interview with Esquire UK, the "We Found Love" singer, 23, defends her decision to collaborate with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown on the racy single "Birthday Cake," as well as appear in a verse on his "Turn Up the Music" — and says the backlash surrounding the tunes caught her "off-guard."

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"It never occurred to me how this was going to be a problem," she tells the mag. "I thought people were gonna be surprised that we finally did a record together, but I didn't see how people could think it was a bad thing, you know? In my mind, it was just music . . . I could never see anything wrong with making music."

Three years after Brown violently assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna, multiple sources confirmed to Us Weekly earlier this year the pair had been hooking up in secret. ("Rihanna loves to live dangerously, and talking to and hooking up with Chris is all part of that," one source explained to Us.)

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When the Esquire article's author presses the singer for more about the status of her current relationship with Brown, their discussion gets heated.

"[I worked with Brown] in a completely professional environment," Rihanna argues. "I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that's a whole different discussion."

Adds the pop star, "If I ever do, then that's something that y'all have to talk to me about when — if — that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is."

When the piece's author points out the overtly sexual nature of her single with Brown, Rihanna rejects the idea that the lyrics hint they're hooking up again.

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"That was the tone before [he] was ever on the record," the Barbados-born songstress snaps. "You think it was going to be about hopscotch or jump rope?"

Even if she and Brown had decided to get together again, Rihanna says it's not really anyone's business, anyway.

"There’s a lot of sh– y’all can’t get over. Y’all holding your breath on a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter," she snipes. "When you realize who you live for, and who’s important to please, a lot of people will actually start living. I am never going to get caught up in that. I’m gonna look back on my life and say that I enjoyed it — and I lived it for me."

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