In the wake of her assault at the hands of ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna has a new, edgier sound and look—just check out the cover—and she talks about both with GQ. Eight months later, finally talking about the assault is “very liberating,” she says, recalling that, in the wake of her drama, “nobody” helped her get through it—it was recording her new album that helped her to heal.
With her manager hovering over her shoulder, she also reveals, “I didn’t call 911” the night of the attack, though “everybody thinks I did”—but she won’t say who made the call. She also admits that, initially, “I wondered what, what did I do to provoke it?” and still hopes her struggle will help young girls in similar situations. “Love is blind,” she says. “It took a lot of strength to pull out of that relationship.” As for less heavy things, like that topless cover, "It's very sexy. At one point LA Reid came into the shoot, and he was like, 'Rihanna, put some fucking clothes on!'"