Rihanna‘s one-on-one with talk show doyenne Oprah Winfrey for ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’ focused on her relationship with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. Most of the preview clips focused on RiRi crying while recounting her love for him (as opposed to her memories of the beating he handed to her), which was a smart strategy to pull viewers in.

But the most striking thing about the chat was the vulnerability. Ri has put up a hard, super sexy, tough girl shell for much of the past few years, but Opes took a hammer and broke down those walls. For the first time in a long time, RiRi was real, not just this unattainable, ice cold pop star.

Working backwards, since Breezygate occupied the second half of the interview, Rihanna admitted that she still loves Brown and that her stomach drops when she sees him, but not out of fear. Can someone say lookout to Karrueche Tran, Brown’s current girlfriend?

“I was hurt the most,” Rihanna said. “It happened to me, in front of the world. I lost my best friend. Everything I knew switched in a night and I couldn’t control that… As angry and hurt and betrayed as I was, he made that mistake because he needed help. Nobody was going to say he needs help without looking at the source. I was more concerned about him.”

Opra flat out asked if they are seeing each other, and what the current status of the relationship is. She replied, “Now we’re very close friends. We built a trust again. We love each other and probably always will. That’s not something you can shut off…He’s in a relationship of his own. I am single. But we have maintained a close friendship since the restraining order was dropped. We worked on it little by little. It’s not easy.”

When she sees him, “It’s awkward. I still love him. My stomach drops, yes. I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the outer part.”

“Absolutely” was her answer when asked if he is her true love. “He was the love of my life,” she recalled. “He loved me the same way. We were young and spontaneous. We ran free, we ran wild. We forgot about ourselves as individuals and personal discipline. We needed something to shut that off to show us what we were missing and taking for granted. I truly love him. The main thing for me is that he is at peace. I am not at peace if he is unhappy or lonely. It matters to me that he finds peace.”

That, dear reader, is called unconditional love — when someone else and their feelings come first. Judging from her words, Rihanna is still carrying a torch for Breezy.

She confirms that she forgave Brown for beating her. “I was resentful, I held a grudge. It was coming out in my music, my clothes, my attitude. I didn’t like that feeling,” she said. To get over it, she repaired her relationship with her father, who was violent towards her mother. He was an awful husband but a great father.

Now, Ri accepts that forgiving Breezy did not make her a weak victim, nor does it condone violence and make her a statistic.

“I am living the life of my dreams, and way beyond what I dreamt of,” Rihanna also said, looking summer cool carefree with flowing black locks and a seafoam green maxi-dress. while in her native Barbados. She spoke highly of her late Gran Gran Dolly, who died on July 1, breaking down in tears. “She taught me about loving my enemies,” RiRi admitted. “She thought me about spirituality and strength as a woman. She wanted me to marry someone who loves me more than I love him. A woman will always give love and give even more than they need for self-esteem. It’s maternal. Even with a husband, it will be that way. They will only meet you half-way.”

She responded to being called the “essence of f—” by Esquire, saying that it’s not some great accomplishment that should be a mantlepiece trophy, playing dumb about her own sexiness, intimating that she doesn’t quite know what “essence of f—” means.

RiRi addressed the relationship she maintains with the Rihanna Navy. “I want them to know I have flaws,” she continued. “I am afraid of the pedestal that comes with fame and with being a celebrity. I want to be a peer to my fans. I don’t want to be above them or think that I am not one of them. She doesn’t like the assignation of “role model” to who or what she is, because it means perfection which no one can achieve. “I’m a work in progress,” she said.

As for the big “Who are you?” question, she is black and white when it comes to business, but “I do allow a grey area when it comes to my personal life.” Rihanna addressed being lonely, but never wants to be seen as weak or the victim, so she avoids telling people when she goes through something.

So in addition to learning she still loves Breezy and seeing her vulnerable side, we’re convinced all those gossip stories about their secret affair have SOME shred of truth. Also, we’ve got to point out that the name Drake never came up… once. At least not on camera. Breezy gets half a special; Drizzy doesn’t get a mention. That should tell you who ranks how high.

Ri also surprisingly gifted her mother with a swanky mansion at the end of the show.

Ultimately, if you ever felt like Rihanna was a shallow pop star, this interview should change your mind, since it allowed fans to mine the depths.

Watch Rihanna OpenUp About Chris Brown

Watch Rihanna Talk About How the Assault Affected Her

Watch Rihanna Discuss Being Called Sexiest Woman Alive

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