Rihanna's come a long way since the night, a little over a year ago, when then-boyfriend Chris Brown threatened and physically abused her ahead of the 2009 Grammy Awards. In the July issue of Elle, the pop songstress opens up about the tumultuous end of her relationship Brown ("I just didn't want to feel the pain, the confusion") and her life with new boyfriend Matt Kemp ("It keeps me sane").
A few highlights:
On new boyfriend Matt Kemp: "I have a boyfriend. I'm so happy. I feel really comfortable, and it's so easy. I have such a chaotic life, but at the end of the day, that is just my peace. It keeps me sane, really, talking to him and talking to my family."
About Chris Brown: "A year ago, I was very confused. Because he was my best friend. All of a sudden, one night changed our whole lives-not only our friendship, but our lives. I wanted to wake up one day and just not have that pain anymore. I wanted to be with him again or get over him-it was either-or. I just didn't want to feel the pain, the confusion."
On the cover of her new album Rated R: "I wanted pictures that represented strength and fearlessness but still femininity -- a strong woman who can be vulnerable. Every woman is made up of vulnerability and strength; no matter what race you are, no matter what you've been through in your life. Every woman has that strength that is undeniable, but we also have really big hearts. It's just us."
Chris Brown -- who was sentenced to five years of probation, one year of domestic violence counseling, and six months of community service -- is now dating model Jasmine Sanders and was recently denied entry into the U.K. because of his criminal record. And, in more related news, C-list rapper Drake claims that Rihanna, whom he dated briefly following her split from Brown in 2009, "used [him] like a pawn."