Sitting on the couch next to Oprah, tears fill the singer's eyes as she recalls that night in February of 2009 when then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, left her bloody, bruised and in the hospital after a particularly nasty fight.
"I lost my best friend," she said. "Everything I knew switched in a night and I couldn't control that."
She continues, saying it was a difficult thing to "interpret on camera with the whole world watching" and even went so far as to say she felt "protective" of her abuser.
"It was a weird, confusing space to be in," she told Oprah. "Because as angry as I was, as angry and hurt and betrayed, I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help and who's going to help him? Nobody's going to say he needs help. Everybody's going to say he's a monster without looking at the source, and I was more concerned about him."
Oprah traveled to Rihanna's hometown in Barbados to get a glimpse of the real girl behind the audacious, chart-topping performer the world watches.
"I was expecting a badass, a hard-edged rocker woman," Oprah said. "Nothing could be farther from the truth. She was thoughtful, she was very emotional, she was vulnerable… I came away really getting a great sense as to who she was."
The interview airs this Sunday at 9 pm EST on the OWN network.
Check out the video below