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Rihanna to Oprah: Chris Brown 'was the love of my life'

Aug. 20, 2012 at 7:24 AM ET

Many fans wonder what's really going on between Rihanna and Chris Brown, and the singer cleared the air during her interview with Oprah Winfrey for "Oprah's Next Chapter" Sunday night.

Ri-Ri and Chris are not seeing each other (plus, Brown is currently in a relationship), but that doesn't mean that the Barbados beauty has lost feelings for her ex-boyfriend.

Rihanna felt "protective" of Chris Brown

"We love each other and we probably always will, and that's not anything that we're going to try to change," Rihanna told Oprah, and explained that whenever she sees Chris, "it's awkward because I still love him ... my stomach drops and I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the outer part of me. I have to maintain that and suppress it."

"I think he was the love of my life," Ri-Ri shared. "He was my first love and I see that he loved me the same way ... I truly love him -- the main thing for me is he's at peace. I'm not at peace if he's not happy or he's still lonely. I care. It actually matters that he finds that peace."

Ri-Ri and Oprah hang out in Barbados

An emotional Rihanna also expressed that she found the power to forgive Brown for his brutal assault in 2009 through repairing her relationship with her father, who had been violent toward her mother. 

Take a look back at Rihanna and Chris Brown's relationship

"All kinds of emotions started happening after that," she said. "All kinds of things started making sense. I thought I hated Chris and I realized it was love that was tarnished. It looked like hate because it was ugly, it was angry, it was inflamed, it was tainted and I realized that what it was is, I have to forgive him, because I cared about him still. And the minute I let go of that, I started living again." 

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