Despite being linked to several men in the music industry, Rihanna says she’s not really been having sex and her last real, official boyfriend was Chris Brown – when they briefly got back together three years after his arrest for assaulting her in 2009 and, prior to that, then Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who she says she was just getting to know when the paparazzi got a picture of them together.
“We were still dating … we were just three months in and I liked his vibe, he was a good guy, and then paparazzi got us on vacation in Mexico.
He handled it well; I didn’t. I got so uncomfortable because now what? He’s not even able to be seen with [another] girl, because I’m dragged back into headlines that say he’s cheating on me, and I don’t even [really] know this guy.
Some guys … I don’t even have their number. You would not even believe it,” she says with a laugh.
“I’m serious, hand to God.” Given that she’s supposed to be so freewheeling, can’t she just have sex for fun?
“If I wanted to I would completely do that,” she says. “I am going to do what makes me feel happy, what I feel like doing. But that would be empty for me; that to me is a hollow move. I would wake up the next day feeling like shit. When you love somebody, that’s different,” she continues.
“Even if you don’t love them per se, when you care enough about somebody and you know that they care about you, then you know they don’t disrespect you. And it’s about my own respect for myself. A hundred percent. Sometimes it’s the first time I’m meeting this person—and then all of a sudden I’m ‘with them.’
It freaks me out.
This industry creates stories and environments that can make you uncomfortable even being friends with someone. If you see me sitting next to someone, or standing next to someone, what, I’m not allowed to do that? I’m like, are you serious? Do you think it’s going to stop me from having a friend?”
But, she adds, “I’m the worst. I see a rumor and I’m not calling [them] back. I’ve had to be so conscious about people—what they say and why people want to be with me, why people want to sleep with me…. It makes me very guarded and protective. I learned the hard way.
“I always see the best in people,” she says. “I hope for the best, and I always look for that little bit of good, that potential, and I wait for it to blossom.
You want them to feel good being a man, but now men are afraid to be men. They think being a real man is actually being a pussy, that if you take a chair out for a lady, or you’re nice or even affectionate to your girl in front of your boys, you’re less of a man. It’s so sick.
They won’t be a gentleman because that makes them appear soft. That’s what we’re dealing with now, a hundred percent, and girls are settling for that, but I won’t. I will wait forever if I have to … but that’s O.K. You have to be screwed over enough times to know, but now I’m hoping for more than these guys can actually give.
“That’s why I haven’t been having sex or even really seeing anybody,” she says, “because I don’t want to wake up the next day feeling guilty. I mean I get horny, I’m human, I’m a woman, I want to have sex.
But what am I going to do—just find the first random cute dude that I think is going to be a great ride for the night and then tomorrow I wake up feeling empty and hollow? He has a great story and I’m like … what am I doing? I can’t do it to myself. I cannot. It has a little bit to do with fame and a lot to do with the woman that I am. And that saves me.”
Is she lonely? “It is lonely,” she says, “but I have so much work to do that I get distracted. I don’t have time to be lonely. And I get fearful of relationships because I feel guilty about wanting someone to be completely faithful and loyal, when I can’t even give them 10 percent of the attention that they need. It’s just the reality of my time, my life, my schedule.”
Asked if she thinks she’s always going to be a poster child for victims of domestic abuse. “Well, I just never understood that,” she says, “like how the victim gets punished over and over. It’s in the past, and I don’t want to say ‘Get over it,’ because it’s a very serious thing that is still relevant; it’s still real.
A lot of women, a lot of young girls, are still going through it. A lot of young boys too. It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it? It didn’t sit well with me.”
Rihanna is quiet and thoughtful when she talks about getting back with Brown for the second time and asking the court to lift the restraining order against him. “I was that girl,” she says, “that girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others. Maybe I’m one of those people built to handle shit like this.
Maybe I’m the person who’s almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they’re not strong enough, when they’re not understanding the world, when they just need someone to encourage them in a positive way and say the right thing.”
So, she thought she could change him? “A hundred percent. I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn’t understand him. Even after … But you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy. You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you—because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.” Now, she says, “I don’t hate him. I will care about him until the day I die. We’re not friends, but it’s not like we’re enemies. We don’t have much of a relationship now.”