TODAY   |  August 20, 2012

Rihanna to Oprah: ‘I still love’ Chris Brown

In an emotional interview with Oprah, music superstar Rihanna opened up about her feelings for her former boyfriend Chris Brown and the night he assaulted her, just a day before the 2009 Grammy awards. NBC’s Natalie Morales reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 7:41 with more of rihanna 's interview with oprah. apparently not everyone is happy with some of the things the pop star is saying. natalie here with that. good to see you.

>> the full interview aired last night. rihanna says she has forgiven chris brown for assaulting her in 2009 and admitted she still loves him.

>> what do you want the world to know about your relationship with him.

>> we've been working on our friendship again. now we're very, very close friends . we've built a trust again. that's it. we love each other and we probably always will.

>> superstar rihanna got deeply personal in her interview with oprah winfrey admitting three years after being abused by then boyfriend chris brown that the two are working on rebuilding their relationship.

>> you know there are rumors you saw him in st. tropez. did you?

>> we did. we went to mutual friends party on a yacht.

>> brown pleaded guilty to felony assault and was ordered by a judge to stay away from rihanna . she told oprah that court order has since been lifted. she says she's not dating brown again but described what it's like when she spends time with him.

>> what happens when you see him?

>> it's awkward. it's awkward because i still love him.

>> does your heart do this, do that whoosh thing.

>> my stomach drops, yes. i have to maintain this poker face , and, you know, not let it get to the outer part of me.

>> i think rihanna sitting down and talking about how she's still in love with chris brown , that he is still the true love of her life. it's rare to see someone sit down on national television and open up about such a thing.

>> reporter: rihanna faced a backlash after excerpts of the interview were released late last week. the singer said she was protective of brown and was worried following the 2009 fight he needed help.

>> the fact that any sores of abuse occurs is never healthy and really should be highlighted. there's always the concern with any sort of public relationship that society will choose to mimic it and believe it is the archetype for how relationships should progress.

>> i think the one who gains from this the most is chris brown . the very person who is supposed to hate him the most in fact still loves him.

>> reporter: despite her critics, rihanna says she has forgiven chris brown .

>> you have moved on from that incident in 2009 where you were abused and he was arrested, even though you know that that will follow both of you probably for the rest of your life.

>> yes.

>> is that what you want the world to know, you have moved on?

>> i mean, i have to move on. you know, as i said, it happened to me, so i can't tell people how to feel about it. they are entitled to feel angry, because it wasn't a good thing that happened.

>> but you have forgiven him.

>> but i have. i have. that's my personal thing.

>> and by the way, we reached out to chris brown but he had no comment, savannah.

>> all right, natalie. thank you.