April 1, 2013 at 8:45 AM ET
Chris Brown is one of the more polarizing celebrities today: Ever since his conviction on felony assault charges in 2009 for attacking singer Rihanna, he's been on the downside of a lot of bad press and bad feelings from fans and critics alike. But in recent weeks, the R&B star has been mixing his promotional appearances for his new album "X" and single "Fine China" with a personal rehabilitation tour where he's opened up about the abuse and about the way he's changed since the incident. Brown sat down with TODAY's Matt Lauer on Monday to talk about the new music, and the new him.
"I've been humbled by the whole experience," he said. "From me losing everything, you know, to me having to regain public opinion or whatever it is -- but most importantly, you know, knowing that what I did was totally wrong and having to kind of deal with myself and kind of forgive myself in the same breath and being able to apologize to, you know, Rihanna and be that man that can be who is a man, you know?"
Still, Lauer noted that not all of Brown's behavior seems to indicate serious change, and he wondered what the singer thought of his continued skeptics. "I think everybody is entitled to their opinion. For me, it's just a learning process. You know, I have to just take it one day at a time. I can't make everybody like me ... it's about me being positive."
Lauer pointedly asked if Brown and Rihanna had reconciled as a couple, and Brown nodded: "Yeah, everything's good, we're fine." He also talked about how he had done 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling, to understand "Why did I do what I did?"
"I think it's just me proving myself once again," he said. "Knowing that what I did was wrong, and never doing it again. So as far as me and (Rihanna) are concerned, she knows my heart, and I know her heart. So I'm not really focused on the negative."
And in the end, he says, what's important to him is pleasing the important people in his life -- and not the critics. "For me, it's about proving myself to my fans," he said. "The only thing I can do is please my family, myself, and please her, you know, and my fans."
"X" is slated for release in August.