Rihanna reflects on Chris Brown relationship: I thought I could change him

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Rihanna Tears Up Recalling Chris Brown Incident

While Rihanna is known for her awe-inspiring confidence, the 27-year-old singer nevertheless shows her vulnerable side when it comes to her controversial relationship with Chris Brown in a candid new interview with Vanity Fair.

After 26-year-old Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault and accepted a plea deal in 2009 after an altercation with Rihanna turned physical the night before the GRAMMYs that year, the singer resumed dating him in 2013, before splitting up again several months later.

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"I was that girl -- that girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others. Maybe I'm one of those people built to handle sh*t like this," Rihanna now shares about her state of mind at the time. "Maybe I'm the person who's almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they're not strong enough, when they're not understanding the world, when they just need someone to encourage them in a positive way and say the right thing."

Rihanna says she "a hundred percent" thought she could change Brown.

"I was very protective of him," she stresses. "I felt that people didn't understand him. Even after ... But you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you're the enemy. You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I'm willing to put up with something, they think less of you -- because they know you don't deserve what they're going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that's when I finally had to say, 'Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.' Sometimes you just have to walk away."

Photos of Rihanna's Grammys red carpet looks from over the years:

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Rihanna's Grammy Award Fashion Through the Years
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Rihanna reflects on Chris Brown relationship: I thought I could change him
Rihanna attends the 2nd Annual Diamond Ball at The Barker Hangar on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Rihanna during the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Lucian Grainge at The Beverly Hilton on January 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Recording Artist Rihanna attends the Roc Nation pre-Grammy brunch on January 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Rihanna arrives at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: (Exclusive Coverage) Rihanna and BET President of Music Programming and Specials Stephen Hill attend the Island Def Jam Grammy Party Sponsored By Samsung And Pepsi at Osteria Mozza on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Rihanna arrives at the The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Rihanna arrives at the The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singers Ziggy Marley, Bruno Mars and Rihanna perform onstage during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singers Ziggy Marley, Bruno Mars and Rihanna perform onstage during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Rihanna performs onstage at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Model Amber Rose (L) and singer Rihanna attend the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Rihanna onstage during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Rihanna arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at the Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Rihanna arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at the Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna arrives at The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna arrives at The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Rihanna arrives for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center, February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
Drake and Rihanna perform onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Singer Rihanna performs onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Singers Rihanna and Drake onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage)
Rihanna onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Singer Rihanna performs onstage during the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Rihanna arrives at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at the Nokia Theater on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Rihanna arrives at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at the Nokia Theater on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Rihanna and Taylor Swift attends the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Beyonce and Rihanna attends the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Musicians Rihanna and Taylor Swift attend the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 07: R&B Soul singer Rihanna attends the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Singers Miley Cyrus and Rihanna attend the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Rihanna poses with the award for Best Rap/Sung Collaberation in the press room during The 50th Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Rihanna arrives to the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
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These days, Rihanna reveals the two don't talk at all.

"I don't hate him," she shares. "I will care about him until the day I die. We're not friends, but it's not like we're enemies. We don't have much of a relationship now."

Rihanna says she's currently single despite recent pictures of her showing PDA with rapper Travis Scott. The "B*ch Better Have My Money" singer says her last official boyfriend was Brown, and before that, pro baseball player Matt Kemp. But she insists that she's not into hooking up for fun.

MORE: Chris Brown Wants to Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence in Australia

"If I wanted to I would completely do that," she says. "I am going to do what makes me feel happy, what I feel like doing. But that would be empty for me; that to me is a hollow move. I would wake up the next day feeling like sh*t."

"When you love somebody, that's different," she adds. "Even if you don't love them per se, when you care enough about somebody and you know that they care about you, then you know they don't disrespect you. And it's about my own respect for myself. A hundred percent."

Above all, RiRi is not willing to settle.

"I will wait forever if I have to ... but that's OK" she says. "You have to be screwed over enough times to know, but now I'm hoping for more than these guys can actually give."

Still, Rihanna isn't giving up home on finding true love.

WATCH: Rihanna Is Hooking Up With Rapper Travis Scott

"A very extraordinary gentleman, with a lot of patience, will come along when I least expect it," she muses. "And I don't want it right now. I can't really be everything for someone. This is my reality right now."

Clearly, both Rihanna and Brown are still feeling the effects of their intense, highly publicized relationship to this day. Last September, ET's Kevin Frazier caught up with the controversial singer, when he talked openly about his not so stellar reputation.

"You have to forgive yourself," Brown said. "You can't beat yourself up over the years, because it'll just eat at you and you'll be stuck in the past. And for me, I just learned to be a more humble individual and more of a conscious person."



Just last week, he tweeted out his desire to help in the efforts against domestic violence, after reports surfaced that he might be denied entry into Australia. "I'm not the pink elephant in the room anymore," he tweeted. "My life mistakes should be a wake-up call for everyone. Showing the world that mistakes don't define you. Trying to prevent spousal abuse."

"The youth don't listen to parents nor do they listen to PSAs," he added. "The power that we have as Entertainers can change lives."

Here's more on Rihanna's reported new relationship with 23-year-old Scott.

Rihanna Is Hooking Up With Rapper Travis Scott
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