In a 20/20 interview airing Friday, Rihanna offers a graphic account of the fateful Feb. 7 confrontation with her then-boyfriend Chris Brown – including the terrifying blankness that seemed to come over him as he assaulted her.
She says all she kept thinking was, "When is it going to stop? When is it going to stop? He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked-out. There was no person when I looked at him."
The fight, she says, started when Brown received a text message from another woman while they were driving away from a Grammy Awards party.
"I caught him in a lie, and he wouldn't tell the truth. And I wouldn't drop it," Rihanna tells Diane Sawyer in the interview, portions of which aired Friday morning on Good Morning America.
"I couldn't take that he kept lying to me, and he couldn't take that I wouldn't drop it … It escalated into him being violent towards me. And it was ugly."
How ugly? "I was battered, I was bleeding, I was swollen in my face," she says.
Their Love Spelled Danger
She felt trapped. "My next option was to get out of the car and walk, start walking in a gown and a bloody face," she says. "I didn't have a plan. That whole night was not part of my plan."
Rihanna believes now that the passionate love affair between the young couple – she was 20 at the time, he was 19 – was an unhealthy one. "The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other, equally dangerous," she says. "Because it was a bit of an obsession."
She also discusses how she eventually broke things off with Brown, and how she feels about him today.
"Love doesn't go away right away," she says. "He didn't accept that very well. Obviously he didn't want us to be apart. But I had to make a decision for me."
Does she hate Brown now? "No, I don't hate him at all," she says. "I actually love and care about him. I want him to do well, have a great career, have a great life and grow up. And just take this as something you had to go through to grow up and learn."