After seven years of catastrophe in the making, we have compiled a timeline of Chris Brown and Rihanna's relationship. Take a stroll down memory lane with the Millennial generation's most volatile couple.
2005: The Gestational Phase
A 17-year old Rihanna and singer Teairra Marí introduce 16-year old Chris Brown at the 2005 Vibe Awards. Everyone acts supremely awkward and looks exceptionally young.
2006: The Light Chilling Phase
There's not a whole lot of photo documentation of them together in 2006, but evidence from the 2006 Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards confirms that they are definitely hanging out. Or at the very least, Chris and Riri have been flirting like crazy.
2007: The Making Sweet Music Together Phase
Rihanna wins Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards for "Umbrella." She and Chris Brown bring down the house with their steamy music montage—perhaps one of the best performances in VMA history—thus marking their first major performance together. Chris turns 18 this year and Rihanna attends the massive celebration. Subsequently, rumors begin and/or continue to fly about the nature of their relationship.
2008: The Brother & Sister Phase
Chris and Rihanna go out of their way to deny that they are a couple, taking every opportunity to boast about their single lifestyles and close friendship. The week of the Kids Choice Awards, Rihanna stresses that theirs is more of a familial relationship, telling MTV News that "We are best friends, honestly, like brother and sister."
The "siblings" are then photographed for the better part of the year canoodling, swimming, grocery shopping, and vacationing together in Barbados. In June, Chris Brown will finally admit they are taking their relationship to the next level. Says Brown, "Our relationship is growing. We started off as friends and we're getting a little bit closer now."
2009: Probably Their Worst Phase Ever
The year starts off fine for the couple dubbed the prince and princess of R&B, but a catastrophic fight in the early morning hours of February 8th sounds the death knell for the burgeoning relationship. After attending a pre-Grammy party honoring Clive Davis, they argue over a series of allegedly sexual text messages sent to Brown by his manager Tina Davis. While initial reports of what transpired are vague, TMZ releases photographs of the brutally battered pop princess. Soon after full transcripts of the police report are released to the public.
At this point, the twosome splits up: Rihanna recovers in Barbados with close friends while Brown—who is charged with felony assault and felony criminal threats—posts bail and retreats to his mother's home in Virgina. In late February, Brown and Rihanna reunite at Diddy's Miami mansion to try to work things out, but the horrendous events prove insurmountable and reports have them separated again as early as mid-March. Brown eventually strikes a plea deal and receives no jail time, but the court of public opinion has already taken sides, deeming him kryptonite for previous sponsors.
Adding insult to injury, nude photos of the songstress find their way online in May. While many fingers wag in Brown's direction, he adamantly denies any involvement with the leak (Click here for NSFW photos).
While on Larry King in August, Brown admits that he still loves Rihanna (which doesn't matter because he's been ordered by the courts to stay away from her). He claims that he "has no recollection of what happened on February 8th in a rented Lamborghini." Rihanna, meanwhile, gives an in-depth interview to Diane Sawyer, and begins to play the field.
2010: Rihanna's Drake Fall Out & LA Dodger Matt Kemp Rebound Phase
Rihanna is reticent to talk about her fling with Drake, which happened in late 2009. While talking to MTV in 2010, she admits: "It was at a really fragile time in my life, so I just didn't want to get too serious with anything or anyone at that time." She does admit that she is attracted to Drake, but didn't want it to go any further. Drake, for his part, pens some emotional lyrics and admits that he felt played by the pop singer. The best thing that comes out of their romance is the 2010 summer anthem "What's My Name" and corresponding music video.
While Rihanna is linked to an army of male suitors this year, it is her fling with Drake and blossoming relationship with LA Dodger Matt Kemp that have the most traction. In Elle, she talks about Matt Kemp as if he's a breath of fresh air, clearing out the stench from the year prior: "I have a boyfriend. I'm so happy. I feel really comfortable, and it's so easy. I have such a chaotic life, but at the end of the day, that is just my peace. It keeps me sane, really, talking to him and talking to my family." Sadly, both parties begin to lose interest due to packed schedules, and the the relationship goes fallow before the year is up.
2011: The Passive Aggressive and Sexually Suggestive Twitter Phase
At this point, some time has passed since 2009 and Rihanna agrees to have the restraining order lifted. Chris Brown no longer has to stay away from her so long as he doesn't, "harass, annoy or molest" the singer.
He does, however, manage to harass, annoy, and molest Robin Roberts and the hair and make-up staff of "Good Morning America" by having an explosive tantrum when asked questions pertaining to "the incident" during the interview (questions he'd pre-approved). Brown is heard screaming so loud by the hair and make-up staff that they call security in time to find a shattered window in the dressing room and a shirtless Brown storming out of the building.
Meanwhile, the ex-couple seems to be having an entirely separate and equally sordid cyber relationship via Twitter. First, they shake up the blogosphere when they start following each other in May. In June, Chris sends what was obviously meant to be a private message to Rihanna, then instantly deletes the public tweet (asking if she'd received a private picture he'd sent her). While the sexual subtext was strong, there was no mistaking Chris' anger in November after being confronted by followers:
I don't say s**t to anybody and everyone feels its cool to attack me. GROWN ADULTS!!!! that s**t happened three years ago!
I know alot of you wack @ss(OLD) celebrities probably wanna f**k my ex but talking s**t on me wont get u far.
MY MUSIC DOESNT PROMOTE VIOLENCE nor will it ever! only thing it will increase is the pregnacy rate!
Brown promptly deletes the evidence, and his entire account, only to resurface in December when the duo reportedly exchange a series of "love tweets."
2012: The Who-The-Hell Knows Phase
Nobody knows at this point exactly what is going on between Rihanna and her ex-love. Most of us don't want to see them reunited, and would prefer it if they both moved on. (But we're rarely that lucky.) Sources say they've been hooking up for well over a year, even though Brown has been going steady with model-girlfriend Karrueche Tran.
On Rihanna's birthday, February 20th, they drop remixes of each other's tracks and pave the way for collaborations in the future. Rihanna also calls a Twitter fan ugly for dissing her collaboration with Brown, inciting more internet drama, confused gossip blogs report the pop queen is coming to the defense of her "ex- (and possibly current) boyfriend Chris Brown."
Rihanna and Karrueche also start cryptically referring to each other on Twitter and Facebook. Rihanna posts a picture of a dressed up rice cake with the caption "Ima make U my bitch" possibly a veiled (and totally racist) reference to Tran's Vietnamese descent.
Tran responds with a catty Nicki Minaj lyric of her own on facebook: "I'm Angelina, you Jennifer. C'mon, you see where Brad at!" Ladies, please.
None of that matters come May, when Brown allegedly tears into Ri-Ri on Kanye West's track, "Theraflu," with lyrics like "don't f*ck with my old bitches … like a bad fur … every industry n*gga done had her" and "trick or treat like a pumpkin … just to smash her," which seem to be aimed directly at the pop diva, to which the singer responded by blocking him on Twitter.
Amidst reports in June that Rihanna is out-of-control and needs to go to Rehab, her ex-beaus get into in a nightclub altercation at WIP in NYC. The dust-up allegedly starts after Brown sends a champagne peace-offering to Drake, who returns the bottle with a note that reads, "I'm fucking the love of your life." Chris Brown posts a Twitter photo of his busted chin from a bottle reportedly hurled at him by Drake's entourage.
Neither rapper is charged in the incident, and rapper Meek Mill's birds-eye view claims to absolve both of any wrong-doing: "I never seen Chris Brown or Drake throw a bottle, and I was there," Meek, who is currently touring with Drake, told XXL magazine Monday. "Chris and Drake, them two was there, but it's other people that be around that take … it to the next level.
The whole open-ended saga is exactly the kind of Schadenfreude love story we've come to expect from Hollywood, and will keep this duo in the tabloids for years to come.