Rihanna and Chris Brown are both scheduled to perform on the 54th annual Grammy Awards this Sunday. This will be the first time the pop stars attend the prestigious award ceremony together since Brown violently assaulted Rihanna three years ago today. Over the past few months there have been rumors that the pop stars have been secretly seeing each other, which might lead some people to ask, what if Rihanna and Chris Brown got back together? Would it kill their careers?
After the February 8, 2009 incident, Brown was charged with two felonies and sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service.
During an exclusive interview in November 2009 for 20/20 with Diane Sawyer, Rihanna was candid about her turbulent romance with Brown. “He was definitely my first big love,” she told Sawyer. “The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other.The thing that men don’t realize, when they hit a woman, it’s… the face, the broken arm, the black eye, it’s going to heal. That’s not… the problem. It’s the scar inside.”
When asked if she would ever reunite with Brown, Rihanna said, “I can’t answer that question right now, ‘cause you never know what the future holds. I don’t have a desire at all to be with him. I don’t see how we could get back together. But I’m not God, so I can’t predict the future.”
In February, 2011, a court order that prevented Brown and Rihanna from coming into close contact was lifted, allowing Brown to speak to Rihanna without “harassing or annoying her.”
In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, Rihanna defended her decision to lift her restraining order against Brown, “I just didn’t want to make it more difficult for him professionally. What he did was a personal thing — it had nothing to do with his career. Saying he has to be a hundred feet away from me, he can’t perform at awards shows — that definitely made it difficult for him.”
That Spring, Rihanna and Brown reconnected on Twitter. Their Twitter reunion sparked plenty of Internet chatter and some insisted that the former lovers were sending coded messages to each other through their public tweets.
In January 2012 US Weekly reported that Rihanna and Chris Brown have been secretly dating and hooking up for nearly a year. “She comes to see him anytime she’s in L.A.,” a Brown Insider told US Weekly. And according to a music industry source, “they just can’t get enough of each other.” Today Show contributor and columnist for Naughty But Nice, Rob Shuter, says that he thinks that if Chris Brown and Rihanna began publicly dating again it would help both of their careers. “Both of these artists are known for their bad boy and bad girl image. They are not squeaky clean Disney stars. They have a similar edge with the way they walk, they talk and they dress. If they got back together it would be an explosion of publicity. The general public would disapprove, but the young people that buy their records would love it.”
Rihanna arguably has more to lose from a public romance with Brown. The “We Found Love” singer is not only the biggest selling digital artist of all time, but also the face of Armani Underwear, and well known for her many CoverGirl and Nivea commercials. But advertisers might look at a Rihanna-Brown romance as a liability.
“Older adults would look down on a Chris Brown and Rihanna reunion, and corporate America would probably drop Rihanna from many of her profitable product endorsements. But the young people that are their true fans are much more forgiving and would view this more as a tragic love story with a hopefully happy ending,” says Shuter.
Last month she tweeted and image of her newest tattoo: “Thug Life” inked in pale pink across her knuckles to accompany the 11 tattoos she already has. Aside from her new “Thug Life” image Rihanna releases a steady stream of crude rants and taboo photos via her Twitter feed.
Jose Martinez, Media Director and VP of Brandlink Communications, believes that Rihanna will not damage her celebrity brand if she re-kindles her romance with Brown, “I don’t think it will hurt her career. She’s got talent and loyal fans and I don’t think much these days will hurt a person’s career — especially because the fans love to forgive and they both have a fan base — people will snicker at first, but I think she can get through it if she chooses to date him again,” Martinez said.
Rihanna and Brown’s fans have been the deciding factor in both of their careers. Who would have guessed that only three years after his assault on Rihanna, Brown would be nominated for three Grammys, including best R&B album?
Brown’s performance at the Grammys might be the end of his very rocky road to redemption and possibly the beginning of a new chapter in his relationship with Rihanna.
For more entertainment news follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC