Rihanna: Chris Brown was ‘my liberation’

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Rihanna and Chris Brown.

Rihanna says she grew up and wizened up as a result of the assault she suffered in February 2009 at the hands of Chris Brown.

“It gave me guns," Rihanna says in the May issue of Elle about being beaten up by her then boyfriend.

The incident made headlines around the world for weeks, if not months.

 “I was like, well, [beep]. They know more about me than I want them to know," Rihanna says. "It's embarrassing. But that was my opening. That was my liberation.”

In a counter-intuitive, if compelling, assessment, the Bahamian beauty says she felt a great weight was lifted from her shoulders once her private life and her private woes became public knowledge.

"I have more freedom the more people know about me," she says.

"One less skeleton in the closet, one less burden, one less secret; now you know that, so you can say what you want about it. I don't have anything to hide."

Rihanna expressed her pain and her confusion in her album Rated R, which she released nine months later.

“I was going through the hardest time of my life. I was angry, sad, confused, torn,” she tells the mag.

“I was still in love. And I needed to talk about it. That was the only way I could get peace, because it was in my head, and I couldn't leave it there."

Rihanna, 24, doesn’t apologize for reconciling with Brown, at least enough for a musical collaboration, a move which has shocked and appalled some fans. (He shows up on her song “Birthday Cake,” while she lends her voice to a remix of his “Turn up the Music.”)

"I respect what other people have to say," she says.

“The bottom line is that everyone thinks differently. It's very hard for me to accept, but I get it.

"People end up wasting their time on the blogs or whatever, ranting away, and that's all right. I don't hate them for it. Because tomorrow I'm still going to be the same person. I'm still going to do what I want to do.”

Here's the video from Rihanna's "Stupid In Love" from her post-Brown album, Rated R.