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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 03/ 2/2009

Rihanna and Chris Brown: For Better or Worse?

By Liz Kelly

Chris Brown on stage at Madison Square Garden with girlfriend Rihanna in December 2008. (AP)

Can things ever be the same once a relationship reaches the point of physical violence? Is it ultimately possible to forgive and/or forget a kind of human ugliness that ends in a hospital visit?

Maybe these are questions Rihanna is considering today, just a few days in to her reconciliation with Chris Brown. Brown stands accused (if not formally by police, then by the rest of the free world) of beating Rihanna until she was bloodied and bruised following a Grammy party in February.

And until today, hepped up on TMZ reports and leaked pictures, we knew how to feel about it all (even though neither Brown nor Rihanna have officially addressed the incident and, at this point, Brown has only been charged with making criminal threats). Brown was lower than dirt and watching his once promising career trajectory flatline. Rihanna, the bigger star of the two anyway, was the victim and conventional wisdom plotted her next moves as 1. Get help and recover, 2. Do the big interview with Oprah or Barbara Walters and, ultimately 3. Become a powerful voice for domestic abuse awareness.

Instead, Rihanna defied logic over the weekend by reuniting with Brown. And no matter how confusing that is for me, I cringe to think of the mixed message it could be sending to other young people in similar circumstances.

A source told People mag, "Chris is reflective and saddened about what happened, he is really happy to be with the woman he loves."

And I don't doubt Brown's sincerity. After all, his career hangs in the balance. But neither do I trust these two -- Rihanna is 21, Brown 19 -- to steer themselves back onto a healthy course. Last week Brown was spotted attending anger management classes and has said he will seek counseling. For her part, Rihanna's only statement thus far has been to say that she was appreciative of "the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."

Last week, one source claiming to be close to the couple told the New York Daily News that, "Rihanna is temperamental, too. They're both too hot-headed for their own good." Two psychologists interviewed by the New York Post say it is classic behavior for a victim of domestic abuse to return to the abuser.

But can Rihanna and Brown turn their relationship around? Vote in today's poll, then share your thoughts below in the comments section.

By Liz Kelly  | March 2, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Insta-Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Chris Brown and Rihanna Reunite; Phoenix Rep Denies Mental Illness Claims
Next: Sean Penn Wants 'Milk' Day; Rihanna and Chris Brown Reportedly Return to L.A.


Run, Rihanna, run!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | March 2, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Forget Oprah or Babwa Walters, Rihanna ought to have a little sit down w/the lovely Tina Turner. Maybe the voice of experience is what's needed.

Posted by: jes11 | March 2, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What bothers me most about this are the statements from Rihanna's grandmother and father. The former issued a statement early on in this mess, saying that Rihanna was fine, and now the latter says he supports her decision to get back together with Brown. I guess I don't understand how, if that TMZ photo was real, one's blood relatives could say everything's rosy and that getting back together with the guy who (allegedly) inflicted the damage is a good idea.

Ditto Liz's concerns on what this says to other young people in similar situations.

Posted by: northgs | March 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I just wrote all about this for a pop culture blog I write for, MamaPop

Bottom line, dating violence is an issue that goes way beyond Rihanna and Chris Brown, and is way to accepted especially in the hip hop community.

Posted by: jodifur | March 2, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Good call, jes! Miss Tina would have some words of wisdom for Rihanna.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | March 2, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

My sad suspicion is that part of the reconciliation is motivated by Brown's desire to avoid conviction. If they are back together, it lessens her chances of pressing charges, yes? I wish her the best of luck.

Posted by: chantooz | March 2, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The beatings will continue until the relationship improves.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 2, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I won't be surprised if we're witnessing the start of the next generation of Whitney and Bobbie.

Posted by: changling | March 2, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm more disturbed by the 3% of respondents who think it's a good idea. WTF?

Posted by: surlychick | March 2, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Suprised Dr Phil hasn't stuck his nose in yet. Agree, Tina should have a talk with Rhianna. She's only 21...She should in no way feel obligated to this guy! She should move on and fast.

Although statistics may say otherwise, if they do stick together, I hope it doesn't mean once a woman beater always a woman beater.

Posted by: hodie | March 2, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Bad, bad idea. Maybe he'll change. Hopefully. But I still think it's a very bad idea.

Posted by: Guest1234 | March 2, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow -- What to say here. This makes me very, very sad.

I worked for a couple of summers at a battered women's shelter while I was in HS, and I can tell you that this behavior is very common. I saw many women go back to their abusers becuase they hoped that the guy would change. They loved these men, and I don't doubt that the men loved them, too. But, that doesn't change the fact that if you're not capable of having a healthy relationship you should ever event consider being in one until you're 100% sure you've dealt with your problems. It's like asking an alchoholic to tend bar -- It's just a very, very bad idea.

For those of you who are wondering what to say to young women, I'd say this. Sometimes, no matter how much two people love each other, there are things that prevent them from being able to be with one another. Sometimes, people don't know how to be good to the people they love and they hurt those they love (physically or emotionally). If you are ever in a situation where someone is hurting you, no matter how much you love them and no matter how much you want to be with them, YOU MUST LEAVE THEM. You're first responsibility is to keep yourself (and in the case where you have children - your children) safe. You should never be someone's punching bag while they try get better. That's something they have to do on their own.

I really hope that it works out, but in my gut I know that if she's deciding to go back she's likely to do it more than once. The likeliest scenario is that this woman is in for a great, and painful, series of dissapointments.


Posted by: DCLocal20 | March 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Insane! Physical violence is never excusable in my opinion and is the ultimate deal breaker. Evidently, though the Rhianna/Chris Brown scenario is epidemic among the young people in their generation. It would have been a great opportunity for Rhianna to set an example about surviving abusive relationships, but it would appear that she is not interested in that.

Posted by: plamar1031 | March 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line, dating violence is an issue that goes way beyond Rihanna and Chris Brown, and is way to accepted especially in the hip hop community.

Posted by: jodifur | March 2, 2009 12:29 PM

Please let's not start typecasting "the hip hop community" as accepting of "dating violence". Although, I'm not quick to say that the Hip-Hop community consists of 'angels', what genre of music really is? Blanket statements like that should not be made. These are two individuals, of which, are not even hip-hop artists, but considered R&B/Pop. So please, let's avoid such generalizing.

Posted by: MrKPrez2U | March 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The guy at CDAN sums up my thoughts exactly:
"What the weekend did show is that Rihanna's entire family is behind her decision to get back with Chris...Rihanna's dad obviously doesn't care that much about his daughter. He doesn't. You might disagree with me and say he cares and that he is just being supportive, but he doesn't care. Let's say that if when Rihanna was 10 years old the family dog attacked her and made her face look like that, would the family rid themselves of the dog? In Rihanna's family it looks like the answer is no.

Chris Brown on the other hand seems to be enjoying the fact that now he can show his face in public and have fun and do what he wants because for the first time since all of this happened he showed his face and further confirmed the fact that he is an idiot, by riding a jet ski with a wool cap on. Meanwhile, Rihanna had to stay inside because, really, there is no point in her ever coming out again because she has ruined her career forever and given Chris his career back."

Posted by: flippityflop | March 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, he could change. But she should stay away until he actually does. And that's not going to happen in 3 weeks.

She should let him attend a few more anger management classes before letting him back into her life.

Her dad may think he's being supportive, but he's just enabling her abuser.

A talk with Tina is an excellent idea.

Posted by: memphis1 | March 2, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Fenty was a crack addict for many years when Rihanna was growing up and was not there for her emotionally; and he feels a great amount guilt over abandoning his family.

Mr. Fenty, who is now sober, will be more involve in Rihanna's life as well the rest of her family. Rihanna's family lives in Barbados and she has been making excuses to her family for them not to come to the U.S. to visit her until finally she and Chris went to Barbados to visit them.
Rihanna's family does not want her to go back to Chris Brown or to even live in the U.S. by herself. Her family and friends in Barbados are upset she did this without telling them, but they will stand by her because they will not let Chris Brown or music industry parasites (i.e. Diddy) to isolate her from them.

Posted by: lisjaka62 | March 2, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If Chris Brown really cared about Rihanna, he would have told her that he needs to get his anger in check, understand what's making him tick and, make sure he can handle it. And, when he finally figures it out, contact her. It would have shown that he loves her enough to put her safety above his need to be with her. And, that would have done more for his image than anything else.

Now, it looks more like a) selfishness (he got what he wanted, but what about her? What did he tell her to convince her to come back to him?) and b) damage control (yep, she's less likely to prosecute if they're in a relationship).

It's just sad. They both need to take a step back and get some help (him with his anger, her with her choice to be with someone who hurts her.)

Posted by: ldf1 | March 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

DClocal20 may have the accurate statistic handy - I believe that the average victim of domestic violence returns to her abuser 7 times.

And hodie, even if he never beats her up again, he already has established control. She'll tiptoe around him forever, for fear of triggering another beating.

Poor girl needs some real help. Her father and "friends" like Diddy don't appear to be doing her any favors.

Posted by: newengland1 | March 2, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And hodie, even if he never beats her up again, he already has established control. She'll tiptoe around him forever, for fear of triggering another beating

Excellent point, newengland, another reason why I think she should move on. Their relationship is forever damaged.

Posted by: hodie | March 2, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

they will have a bright future,,,, they have a lot of fans on a rich dating community named ___________DATERICHSINGLES.c0 m____________
i am one of them...
best wishes....

Posted by: springzyp01 | March 2, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Bad boys rule.
What should we expect from two idi*ots with trash music that do not know what to do with money they have never dreamed about?
They have been made for each other and the media should not waste time on their fights.
There are other fights and events that are relevant for the audience.

Posted by: mshalt | March 3, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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