"We love each other and we probably always will, and that's not anything that we're going to try to change," Rihanna said unapologetically.
"I think he was the love of my life," she continued. "He was my first love and I see that he loved me the same way. I truly love him. The main thing for me is he's at peace. I'm not at peace if he's not happy or he's still lonely. I care. It actually matters that he finds that peace."
For his part, Chris appears to have moved on and is seriously dating model Karrueche Tran, which RiRi says can be "awkward" — as when they happen to run into each other at events.
"I still love him," she said. "My stomach drops and I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the outer part of me. I have to maintain that and suppress it."
While the singer hasn't forgotten Brown's brutal physical assault that landed her in the hospital in February of 2009, she has "forgiven" him and says doing so has set her free.
"I thought I hated Chris and I realized it was love that was tarnished. It looked like hate because it was ugly, it was angry, it was inflamed," she said. "I have to forgive him, because I cared about him still. And the minute I let go of that, I started living again."
Rihanna admits to a friendship with her ex, saying they are "close" and have "built trust again," but didn't confirm any rekindling the romance.
"We were very young and very spontaneous," she says of their 18-month romance. "We were falling in love and going at a really rapid pace. We forgot about ourselves as individuals."
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