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Rihanna Still Loves Chris Brown: Singer Confirms St. Tropez Meeting and Tearfully Reveals Details About Her "Tarnished Love"

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Three years after her tumultuous and violent relationship with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown was exposed, Rihanna finally comes clean about her true feelings towards her notorious old flame.

"I lost my best friend," the Bajan pop star tearfully admitted to Oprah on Sunday night's OWN network special "Oprah's Next Chapter."

"Everything I knew switched - switched in a night - and I couldn't control that, so I had to deal with that, and that's not easy for me to understand." Rihanna broke down during her interview as Oprah delved deep into not only the domestic abuse incident that happened February 2009, but really what the singer's relationship is with Brown today.

Rihanna and Brown, who have appeared to be publicly estranged, shocked the world when they released two remixed tracks together - "Birthday Cake" and "Turn Up the Music."  The media went into frenzy over the 24-year-old singer's decision to work with her former abuser. The pair has never discussed the status of their relationship and their reps just chalked up their collaboration as "just business." Rihanna finally answered the many questions and speculations during the hour-long interview.

She and Brown are working on their friendship. Rumors of the two seeing each other in St. Tropez were confirmed by Rihanna herself, though Brown's reps previously denied the reports. She says every time they see each other "it's awkward and [her] stomach drops because she still loves him."

"We're very, very close friends," the emotional singer said. "We built a trust again and that's it. We love each other and we probably always will. And that's not anything that we're gonna try to change. It's not something you can shut off if you've ever been in love."

Rihanna's love for Brown is unconditional but it doesn't go to say that she wasn't damaged from his abuse - a fact that is widely misconstrued. The media perceives Rihanna's forgiveness as submission. It isn't so. Rihanna learned to forgive Brown after forgiving her former abusive father. The singer connected her love life to her relationship with her father.

The "We Found Love" singer admits that the abuse was "embarrassing" and "hurtful" however, the battered star couldn't help but be protective over her then-boyfriend. A conundrum indeed, but matters of the heart usually are. The singer says she is "black and white" when it comes to business but very "gray" when it comes to personal matters. "It was hard for me to even pay attention to my mind and figure things out because now it became a circus and I felt protective," she said. "I felt like, the only person they hate right now is him."

"It was a weird confusing space to be in because as angry as I was - as angry, hurt and betrayed - I just felt like, he made that mistake because he needed help and like, who's going to help him? Everybody is going to say he's a monster without looking at the source and I was more concerned about him."

The single young star says she is "living the life of [her] dreams" however she lacks excitement in her love life. She'll date but if she ends up liking the guy too much, she'll cut him off.  She believes Brown was her true love. "I think he was the love of my life," she told Oprah. "He was the first love and I see that he loved me the same way. We were very young and very spontaneous. We ran free. We ran wild. We were falling in love going in at a really rapid pace and we forgot about ourselves as individuals."

Because of their massive fame, Brown - who is in a relationship - and Rihanna can never be able to fully take their relationship to the highest potential without suffering major scrutiny. Rihanna says she "fears the pedestal" that comes along with fame. She doesn't want her fans to "think [she's] not one of them" or that they aren't one of them (she was referring to celebrities).  She wants the world to understand that celebrities are people too and that they go through the same emotions as non-famous folks. Many are guilty of giving old loves a try again. Rihanna said the hate she thought she had towards Brown after the physical abuse was actually just "tarnished love."

If Rihanna's abuse was not exposed, do you think that she and Brown would still be together? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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