Rihanna has been no stranger to the spotlight — even before her February assault at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown.
But the singer said the level of media attention she received in the wake of the attack was something she never saw coming.
“It has taught me so much. I felt like I went to sleep as Rihanna and woke up as Britney Spears,” she said in a candid interview in the December issue of Glamour magazine. “That was the level of media chaos that happened the next day. It was like, what, there are helicopters circling my house? There are 100 people in my cul-de-sac? What do you mean, I can’t go back home?”
And while the magazine hails her as one of their 2009 Women of the Year on the cover of the issue, Rihanna said she couldn’t have survived the past year without the help of those closest to her.
“My friends and family have been extremely supportive, and everyone has been there for me,” she said. “But at some point you are there alone. It’s a lonely place to be — no one can understand.”
In the wake of the February assault, Rihanna said one of the toughest things to cope with was the photo of her bruised face being leaked to the public.
“It was humiliating; that is not a photo you would show to anybody,” she told Glamour. “I felt completely taken advantage of. I felt like people were making it into a fun topic on the Internet, and it’s my life. I was disappointed, especially when I found out the photo was [supposedly leaked by] two women.”
But now, more than eight months removed from the incident, Rihanna — who will give her first TV interview since the attack on Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” — said she has learned some valuable life lessons from the ordeal, which she hopes to pass on to her fans.
“I’m stronger, wiser and more aware. You don’t realize how much your decisions affect people you don’t even know, like fans,” she said.
And most importantly, Rihanna — whose new album “Rated R” will be released later this month — said she hopes the events that surrounded her life this year will serve as a message to women across the globe.
“Domestic violence is a big secret. No kid goes around and lets people know their parents fight. Teenage girls can’t tell their parents that their boyfriend beat them up. You don’t dare let your neighbor know that you fight. It’s one of the things we [women] will hide, because it’s embarrassing,” she said. “My story was broadcast all over the world for people to see, and they have followed every step of my recovery. The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn’t heard. Now I can help speak for those women.”