Rihanna says ex-boyfriend Chris Brown had "no soul in his eyes" while he attacked her in his Lamborghini in the hours before this year's Grammy Awards, and revealed that as a child growing up in Barbados she had vowed never to date someone as abusive as her dad.
"There was no person when I looked at him," the singer said of Brown in excerpts from an interview first broadcast on ABC's "Good Morning America" and later aired in full on Friday's "20/20."
"He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank," after hitting and biting her, she added.
The vicious assault followed an argument over a text message Rihanna had found on Brown's phone from another woman.
U.S. & World
"The more in love we became the more dangerous we became for each other. It was a bit of an obsession," she said. "He couldn't take it that I wouldn't drop [the argument]."
During the ABC interview, Rihanna also said that her dad used to beat her mother. She would try to get between them to break up a fight and even broke a glass bottle once "so they would hear something else," Rihanna said.
After one fight, Rihanna's mom refused to go to the hospital to fix her broken nose.
"Domestic violence is not somebody that people want anbody to know, so she would just hide it in the house," Rihanna said. "I always said to myself, 'I'm never going to date somebody like my dad, never.'"
Brown was arrested Feb. 8, hours after he was accused of the beating in Los Angeles. He later pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to five years' probation, six months of community labor and a year of domestic violence.
In a statement to MTV News on Friday, Brown said he supported Rihanna's right to speak out but "maintain my position that all of the details should remain a private matter between us."
"It was ugly," Rihanna said, looking back on the horrific events.
During the attack, she had difficulty breathing and had no idea how it would end, she said.
"That's all I kept thinking the whole time, 'When is it going to stop? When is it going to stop?'"
ABC's "Good Morning America" first aired portions of the emotional interview on Thursday, timed to coincide with the release of Rihanna's new album, "Rated R," due out on Nov. 23.
On Thursday's segment, Rihanna recalled a sense of dread and loneliness following the ugly affair, as the media swooped in and she became a poster child for battered women.
"I just felt like, 'Oh my God, there goes my little bit of privacy,'" she said. "I feel that I went to sleep as Rihanna and woke up as Britney Spears or something."
Three weeks after Brown beat her up, she flew to Miami to get back together with him. He seemed elated, she said.
But she began to resent her first love.
"He knew. He kept asking me, ‘you hate me don’t you?’ I would say 'no,'" she said. "Everything about him annoyed me…Finally I just said to him, ‘I can’t do this. I cannot continue to do this.’"
The fact that other women -- nearly half a million in the U.S. -- are victims of similar assaults has helped drive her from any thoughts of reconciling with Brown, Rihanna said. Especially since she's received letters and notes from other abused women.
"The minute the physical wounds go away, you want the whole thing to go away," she said. But, she added, "when I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part.
"Even if Chris never hit me again, who's to say that their boyfriend won't?" she said, her voice halting. "Who's to say that they won't kill these girls? And these are young girls. I just didn't realize how much of an impact I had on these girls' lives.
"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," she said.
"You flashback. You ... you remember it all the time. It comes back to you whether you like it or not. And it's painful. So I don't think [Chris] understood that. They never do."
Rihanna said young girls who find themselves in violent relationships must step back and think of their safety.
"I'd say that to any young girl who is going through domestic violence, don't react out of love. F- love," she said.
As for Brown, Rihanna said she still loves and cares about him, and hopes he would "accept this as a man would."
"Just take this as something that you had to go through to grow up and learn," she said, and wished him a "great career and great life."
In Brown's statement after Rihanna's interview, the "Forever" singer said: "I do appreciate her support and wish her the best. I am extremely sorry for what I did, and I accept accountability for my actions. At this point, I am taking the proper steps to learn about me and grow from my mistakes. I only hope that others in similar situations can learn from our experience as well. Abuse of any kind is always wrong. The rest I leave it to God."