Chris Brown says he still loves Rihanna

Chris Brown opens up to CNN's Larry King in his first television interview since his arrest.
Pop star Chris Brown has admitted guilt and apologized for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in February, but he does not remember hitting the singer, he told CNN’s Larry King.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Pop star Chris Brown has admitted guilt and apologized for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in February, but he does not remember hitting the singer, he told CNN’s Larry King. Looking at police reports about the incident makes him feel like he’s reading about a stranger, Brown said in his first television interview since the arrest. “I’m in shock, because, first of all, that’s not who I am as a person, and that’s not who I promise I want to be,” he said in an exclusive interview that airs Wednesday night. “I just don’t know what to think. I’m just like, wow,” Brown said. “It’s crazy to me.” Brown, 20, said he still loves singer Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. But, he added, it is tough for him to look at the photo showing Rihanna’s battered face, the one image that might haunt and define him forever.

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“When I look at it now, it’s just like, wow, like, I can’t believe that that actually happened,” Brown said. He now has to keep his distance from Rihanna, because of a judge’s restraining order. “We have to be like 10 yards away from each other,” Brown said. Watch Chris Brown and his mother discuss Rihanna’s assault » The February argument began over an incident at a Beverly Hills party, according to Brown’s probation report. An earlier, sworn statement by Los Angeles Police detective DeShon Andrews said the incident began when Rihanna found a text message on Brown’s cell phone from “a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.” The pair argued while in a sports car driven by Brown, the police statement said. It went on to describe the assault in great detail, saying Brown punched Rihanna — identified in the statement as Robyn F. — numerous times and put her in a head lock, restricting her breathing and causing her to start to lose consciousness.

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He threatened to beat her and kill her, according to the statement, and he bit her ear and her fingers. The detective said Brown sent a text message nine days later, apologizing. Rihanna’s injuries included cuts and bruises inflicted by a large ring on Brown’s right hand, which he used to punch her, the probation report said. Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault on June 22. A plea deal kept him out of jail. A second felony charge, making criminal threats, was dropped. He was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community labor. “It means he walks the straight and narrow for five years,” said Mark Geragos, Brown’s attorney. “I’ve grown to love this kid like a son or a nephew. I have a high degree of confidence — I’ll say it now so that you can play it back if he ever does anything — but a high degree of confidence that he’s not going to do anything like this in the future.” Brown called the sentence fair and agreed that everything comes with consequences. “They want me to pick up trash, remove graffiti,” he said. “I’m a hard worker, it’s something I’m willing to do.” Why did it happen How did it happen Those are questions Brown and his mother, Joyce Hawkins, have been asking. “Chris has never, ever been a violent person, ever,” Hawkins said. However, CNN obtained a probation report for Brown last week that said he and Rihanna were involved in at least two other domestic violence incidents before the February attack for which Brown was sentenced. “The first incident occurred in Europe about three months before the present offense,” the report said. “The victim [Rihanna] and the defendant [Brown] were involved in a verbal dispute and the victim [Rihanna] slapped the defendant [Brown]. He responded by shoving her into a wall.” Another incident happened in January, three weeks before the Hollywood incident, when Brown and Rihanna were visiting her home country of Barbados, the report said. “The defendant [Brown] and the victim [Rihanna] were visiting Barbados and were driving a Range Rover loaned to them by a local dealership,” the investigator wrote. “They had an argument inside the car. The defendant [Brown] exited and broke the front driver and passenger side windows of the car.” Brown’s mother remembers being shocked and upset when he came to her after the attack in February and told her about it. She said her husband was abusive — and Brown knew it. “I used to be scared to go to bed,” the pop star said. Brown said he is not blaming that history for the attack on Rihanna. But, he added, nobody taught him how to control his emotions and anger. Rihanna calls Brown’s mother “Mom.” The two have spoken and seen each other periodically since the incident. The court order that prevents her son from seeing Rihanna does not extend to Hawkins. “I let her know that I was very, very baffled, what had happened and apologized for my son, along with I’m so sorry what happened to you,” Hawkins said. “And I didn’t know what — I didn’t know what else to say, and I gave her a hug and she hugged me as well.” Hawkins started sobbing at this point in the interview. The singer has not seen Rihanna for a couple of months, and said the separation has been difficult, especially when it comes to her dating others.

“I definitely would be affected by it, but at the end of the day, I mean, we’re not together, so if she’s happy, I’m cool.” But they will always be friends, Brown said.