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October 30, 2014

TV Moment of 2009: Rihanna's '20/20' Interview with Diane Sawyer

by Adam Keleman, posted Dec 29th 2009 9:00AM
Rihanna's first sit-down interview after her breakup with Chris Brown stirred h-diane-sawyeralmost as much attention as the initial scandal.

Diane Sawyer
scored the exclusive for a hotly anticipated, hard-hitting episode of '20/20,' which revealed for the first time exactly what happened on that heated February night when Rihanna's then-boyfriend Brown struck her, and why Rihanna briefly returned to him.

In the ratings-busting segment of '20/20,' a still-shaken Rihanna recounted in detail how an otherwise uproarious night quickly turned into a nightmare after she spotted a questionable text from Brown's cell phone. The picture-perfect pop star was clearly broken by the event, and it was moving, and humbling, to watch her in the seat opposite Sawyer confessing, "I just wanted it to stop."Rihanna's first sit-down interview after her breakup with Chris Brown stirred almost as much attention as the initial scandal.

Diane Sawyer
scored the exclusive for a hotly anticipated, hard-hitting episode of '20/20,' which revealed for the first time exactly what happened on that heated February night when Rihanna's then-boyfriend Brown struck her, and why Rihanna briefly returned to him.

In the ratings-busting segment of '20/20,' a still-shaken Rihanna recounted in detail how an otherwise uproarious night quickly turned into a nightmare after she spotted a questionable text from Brown's cell phone. The picture-perfect pop star was clearly broken by the event, and it was moving, and humbling, to watch her in the seat opposite Sawyer confessing, "I just wanted it to stop."

Never mind celebrity status -- TV audiences were drawn to this interview because it was simply about a battered young girl betrayed by love. It took a lot of strength for Rihanna to admit she was in complete denial, feeling concern for Brown as the general public turned against him; and we watched with bated breath as she teared up while reflecting on how her actions could ultimately affect a girl in a similar domestic abuse situation. She said, "I couldn't be held responsible for telling [abused women] to go back. Even if Chris never hit me again, who's to stay their boyfriend won't hit them again? Who's to say they won't kill these girls?"



This well-televised '20/20' struck a chord with the TV public, as the interview went behind the chart-topper's facade to unearth a vulnerable 21-year-old trying to get a handle on an overwhelming situation. It provided one of the most riveting moments in television this year, especially when Rihanna discusses the illegally leaked, humiliating police photo that was posted on nearly every celebrity gossip site throughout the Web.

Rihanna also spoke about her mother's own fight with domestic abuse, which were inexorably linked to Rihanna and what happened on the night of Febuary 8.

We're happy Rihanna is back in fighting form with the fall 2009 release of 'Rated R'; it's an apt title for a young, wildly famous woman who grew up quickly in 2009, and now seems stronger than ever.

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