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Recalling the night when she was physically assaulted by then-boyfriend R&B singer Chris Brown, pop princess Rihanna tears up as she recollects the incident that turned into a media circus during her upcoming conversation with Oprah Winfrey on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which is set to air on Sunday night, 9 p.m. EST/8c.

The subject of the beating is obviously still an open wound for the singer, who appears to be deeply hurt emotionally by all that took place between herself and Brown on that fateful February night back in 2009.

In a clip from the upcoming chat, Rihanna tries to explain her convoluted feelings surrounding the incident through a stream of tears, “I lost my best friend. Everything I knew switched … switched in a night and I couldn’t control that,” she says about that Grammy weekend. “So I had to deal with that, and that’s not easy for me to understand or interpret. It’s not easy to interpret on camera — not with the world watching. So it was hard for me to even pay attention to my mind and figuring things out because now it became a circus.”

The interview reveals a different side of Rihanna, who is always depicted as somewhat of a wanton party girl. Rihanna appears to put Brown’s feelings in front of her own, with her worrying about how Brown would be castigated for what he did to her.

“I felt protective,” she admits. “I felt like, ‘The only person they hate right now is him.’ It was a weird, confusing space to be in. 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.”

The segment featuring Rihanna was filmed in her native Barbados.  Oprah released a video clip about her interview with Rihanna and said the interview completely changed her perception of the 24-year-old,  “I went there with my own ideas of who she was by watching the videos and listening to her music,” Oprah says in the clip’s opening scene. “I thought she was going to be kind of a badass, kind of a hard-edged rocker/pop woman. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.”

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