Chris Brown is a man of few words (at least publicly), so it was incredibly fascinating watching his new documentary, which candidly recounts his many lifetime trials and tribulations.
I attended a VIP screening of Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life last night at Regal Cinemas in Downtown L.A., and was truly blown away.
The controversial hip-hop star goes into detail about everything from hearing his mom get beat every night by her boyfriend when he was a kid, to the volatile drama that transpired with Robin Roberts at GMA, to losing ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran by impregnating a brief fling during the one month they split up (a decision he says he wouldn’t change for the world because it gave him his precious baby Royalty, who he proudly said god made just for him).
But by far the most compelling portion of the 95-minute Andrew Sandler-directed film—which features guest commentary from his longtime lawyer Mark Geragos, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, and a few other music industry influencers—was when he spoke about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. You could tell he was a little nervous talking about it, as he fidgeted the entire time with a lighter. But he certainly seemed to speak from the heart and he told their former love story (and its tragic ending) from start to finish.
Keep reading for everything you’ve ever wondered about their relationship:
1. He Asked Her to Be His Girlfriend After Months of Hanging Out and She Initially Didn’t Take Him Seriously
According to Chris, he and Rihanna first met at an event and he liked her unique voice (speaking voice, that is). They exchanged info after talking a bit, and then as time went on, they started performing at more of the same events and started hanging out one-on-one. After months of kicking it, Chris eventually asked what the deal is between them because they obviously liked each other and he told her he wanted to be her boyfriend. She said she didn’t think he was ready and that’s when he said “I love you.” She laughed, but they ended up getting together.
2. They’d Been Secretly Dating at the Time of Their 2007 VMA Performance and After It Went Smoothly, He Stopped Caring About Keeping Their Relationship a Secret
The then-couple’s 2007 VMA collab was pure fire, and leading up to it, the pair played coy about their eight-month relationship. After its success and the pair’s evident chemistry, Chris thought they were in the perfect place to be a little more open about what was going on. That performance and their dual success, for him, was what pretty much solidified them as a power couple.
3. He Was Ready to Propose
Once their relationship went public, the couple was everywhere and on everyone’s mind. The duo was super smitten and even at their incredibly young age, Chris was ready to marry his love. But he didn’t want to propose without being completely honest with Rihanna about everything.
4. His Decision to Be Honest is What Led to Their Relationship’s Downfall
Chris said when the duo first started dating, Rihanna regularly questioned him about having a history with someone he worked with. He denied they had anything more than a working relationship, but when he realized just how serious he was about the “We Found Love” singer, he decided to come clean and admitted that indeed he had sexual relations with her. Rihanna flipped out, and that’s when their happy-go-lucky relationship turned toxic for good. They were constantly fighting from that point on, but remained together for the time being.
5. Their Infamous 2009 Domestic Dispute Occurred After Rihanna Found a Displeasing Text in Chris’ Phone
On the night of the 2009 Clive Davis Grammy party, Rihanna and Chris (who were still technically together but not on the best of terms) attended, but turmoil ensued when the woman Chris previously slept with showed up at his table to say hi. Rihanna began crying uncontrollably and Chris (who says he had no idea the girl was going to be there, nor did he want her to come up to him) finally calmed her down and the two left in his Lamborghini. The duo was arguing incessantly and Chris swore to her that he wasn’t keeping any secrets. He begged her to go through his phone and sure enough, she came across an unopened text from the girl at the party, indeed telling him she would be there. Rihanna flipped out and the two were going back and forth. It got so intense that he punched her with a closed fist and left her lip bloody—blood that she spit in his face. It didn’t stop there. She grabbed his private parts and he bit her arm. He stopped the car in Hancock Park and she looked like she threw his keys out the door. He went looking for them, and next thing he knew, she was in fact sitting on them. She then grabbed them and started scratching all of his CDs that had his yet-to-be-released music—music he could no longer retrieve because it was before the days of recording music to your phone. She then screamed that someone was trying to kill her and a neighbor heard and called the police. As we know, the rest is history.
6. The Two Had a Prior History of Domestic Abuse Leading Up to the Infamous Night
The Clive Davis night will forever be ingrained in Chris’ (and much of media’s) mind, but the singer admits this wasn’t the first time such a debacle went down. He said that the couple (yes, both of them) got physical often and many times had to make excuses when they were publicly seen with a scratch or bruise.
7. After They Finally Split for Good, He Kept Trying to Call Her and She Eventually Said to Go Away
The pair reunited very briefly (and very publicly) following their initial split, but once it fizzled, he still tried hitting her up to get her back. He admits she finally told him she had a new boyfriend and wanted him to leave her alone. That’s when he met Karrueche, who he dated for a few years before their nasty split. Although he admits he was still in love with Rihanna at the time he started dating his new lady, he does credit K (along with his mom) for getting him through his toughest times.
**For more on this and Chris’ life now as a doting dad, check out Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life in 450+ select theaters nationwide tomorrow, June 8, on a one-day-only release.