In her first television interview since she was assaulted by Chris Brown, Rihanna says it was "humiliating" and "traumatizing" to admit the incident happened and that it was "wrong" of her to take Brown back.
"That's embarrassing that that's the type of person that I fell in love with," the singer, 21, told Diane Sawyer on ABC's Good Morning America Thursday (the entire interview airs Friday on 20/20). "So far in love. So unconditional that I went back. It's humiliating to say this happened. To accept that? It's a traumatizing experience."
During the interview, she confirmed that Brown, 20, held her in a headlock twice and bit her on the ear and fingers the night before the Grammys.
"I stayed. I even went back after he beat me, which was wrong," Rihanna said. "But again … I'm a human being and people put me on a very unrealistic pedestal. And all these expectations, I'm not perfect."
Rihanna – who drops a new album, Rated R, Nov. 23 – said she wanted to speak out now to help others who may be in a similar situation.
"It's completely normal to go back. It's not right. I learned the hard way, but again, this is what I want people to know," she said. "When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn't be held responsible for going back.
"Even if Chris never hit me again, who is to say that their boyfriend won't? Who's to say that they won't kill these girls?" she went on. "These are young girls and I just didn't realize how much of an impact I had on these girls' lives until that happened."
Rihanna said the past few months have been one of the "most lonely times" for her because "nobody understands what it's like."
Said the singer, "There are a lot of women who've experienced what I did, but not in the public. So it made it really difficult. I just felt like, 'Oh my God, here it goes, my little bit of privacy.'"
Meanwhile, Brown — who was sentenced to five years of probation, six months of community service and one year of domestic violence counseling in August — tells MTV News in a new interview that he still doesn't understand his actions.
"My thoughts [when I look back on it now] is like, 'Why did it happen?' Like, 'What was I thinking? What is wrong with you?' That's what I'm thinking with myself. That's what my thoughts are, basically, now," says the R&B musician.
He said he is ready to move on.
Said Brown, "It's like, 'How do we get past it? How do you, Chris' – talking to myself – 'how do you go from point A to point B? How do you learn from your mistakes, turn it into a positive and help other people with the situation, and at the end of the day become the person that you want to be?'"
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