It's been eight years since the notorious night when Chris Brown physically assaulted Rihanna following a pre-Grammys party. While Brown has shied away from speaking extensively about it over the years, he has opened up about the events of the night and his former relationship with the songstress in the new documentary Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life.
Revealing that he met Rihanna at a 2004 show in New York City when he was 15 and she was 16, Brown says they quickly fell in love. However, he claims that things changed after he admitted to her that early on in their relationship he had lied about having previously slept with a woman who had worked for him.
"My trust totally was lost with her. She hated me after that. I tried everything, she didn't care. She just didn't trust me after that. From there, it just went downhill because there would be fights, verbal fights, physical fights as well," he says.
"Mutual sides," he adds. As he recounts, "We would fight each other. She would hit me, I would hit her and it never was OK."
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"There was always a point where we'd talk about it like, 'What the f— are we doing?" he tells the camera. "Like, 'I don't like you slapping me.' If I go on stage I got a scratch on my face and I gotta explain it like, 'Oh, no I fell.' If you got a scar or a bruise you gotta put makeup on. I'm not ever trying to put my hands on any female."
"I felt like a f—ing monster," he continues. Those fights went to another level the night they attended Clive Davis's pre-Grammy party in February 2009. Brown says their argument kicked off when the woman he previously had sexual relations with came up to them at the event. He told Rihanna he didn't know the woman would be there.
"The ceremony's about to start, she's just crying," Brown recalls. "She got over it. She started drinking a little bit, we both was drinking a little bit. We were both drinking a little bit, laughing, joking. And then we left."
But their fight struck back up again when Rihanna discovered a text message from the woman on Brown's phone, leading her to believe that he lied and knew the other woman would be at the event. "I didn't see it ... but it said I'll see you at the Clive party," Brown states. "[Rihanna] starts going off, she throws the phone. I hate you. Starts hitting me ... She hits me a couple of more times and it doesn't go from translation to 'let's sit down, I'm telling you the truth.' It goes to, 'Now, I'm going to be mean, be evil.'"
"I remember she tried to kick me, but then I really hit her, with a closed fist, I punched her. I busted her lip," he recounts. "When I saw it, I was in shock. I was like, 'F—, why the hell did I hit her?'"
"From there she just spit in my face," Brown continues. "Spit blood in my face and it enraged me even more."
Brown says he then pulled the car over and Rihanna took the keys and pretended to throw them out of the window. "I get out of the car and I'm looking for the keys and somebody yelled and she yells out her door, 'Help, he's trying to kill me.'"
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What goes through his mind when he thinks about that time and the photo of her bloodied and bruised face? "I look back at that picture and I'm like that's not me, bro, that's not me. I hate it to this day. That's going to haunt me forever."
In an interview with Diane Sawyer for 20/20 in November 2009, Rihanna herself reflected on the evening. "There's nothing you can do or say to make somebody do that to you," she said. "That's on them. I just knew he had a problem. He had a temper. He needed to get some help. And he did."
She went on to describe emotional scars that remain after the physical recovery: "The thing men don't realize when they hit a woman, it's the face, the broken arm, the black eye, it's going to heal. That's not the problem. It's the scar inside."
She continued: "You flashback. You remember it all the time. It comes back to you, whether you like it or not. And it's painful, so I don't think he understood that. They never do."
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for help or visit thehotline.org for more information.