Rihanna was presented with MTV's most prestigious honor during Sunday night's Video Music Awards: the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. But almost as incredible as her decade of hits and breakthrough music videos, was the completely swoon-worthy introduction Drake gave the "Work" singer in front of millions of live viewers.
Spoiler alert: He dropped the "L" word!
With Rihanna just steps away from him on the stage, Drake began his speech by recapping the first time they met: while she was shooting a music video at a restaurant in Toronto in 2005. "The song was 'Pon de Replay,' and the director of the video was Little X," he recalled. "I was introduced to her as a kid who played background music at the restaurant as people ate their dinner. It's hard to believe that 11 years later all three of us would come together to create the visuals for a song called 'Work.'"
He went on to extol the qualities that have kept her at the forefront of popular culture for more than a decade. He called her "captivating" and "untouchable," while Rihanna beamed beside him.
What's most impressive isn't the endless list of stats, awards, and accomplishments. What's most impressive is the person," he went on to say. "We love the music, which can change styles from album to album. We love the videos which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all we love the woman who hasn't changed since day one."
And then he dropped the most precious bomb. "She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old," he admitted to roars from the crowd. "She's one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life I've looked up to her even though she's younger than me. She's a living breathing legend in our industry."
Swoon. Watch his ode in the video at top.
Rihanna, for one, couldn't keep from smiling as she took the microphone, Moonman in hand.
"My success, it started as my dream. But now my success is not my own. It's my family's. It's my fans'. It's my country's. It's the Caribbean as a whole. It's women, it's black women," she told the crowd.
"So many people feel like their little piece is such a major part of this puzzle. And I have to thank you guys for supporting me over and over!" Watch her acceptance speech in the above video.