At just 17-years-old, Rihanna burst onto the music scene all sweetness and light with her debut single, Pon De Replay. Fast forward eleven years later – she has now sold over 200 million records worldwide making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. In 2012, Forbes ranked Rihanna the fourth most powerful celebrity in the world and she was also named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World the same year. Yet with all that stardom comes great responsibility and from what we have seen so far – Rihanna does not enjoy being known as the “good girl.”
It feels as if every other month there is a new Rihanna controversy to follow. From celebrity feuds to intoxicated nights out with other stars. This is one badly behaved star who was born to shock. Now Rihanna has learned that the more outrageously she lives her life, the more headlines she can make. She has played her fans for years, so much so that it’s hard to believe what is the truth and what is just a publicity stunt.
Here we look at 12 times Rihanna messed with us and we weren’t too happy about it.
12. When Her PR Team Set Up The Jay-Z Rumours
There were two reasons why Rihanna became an overnight success – firstly she has mega talent and secondly she had a publicist who would stop at nothing to get her name in the papers, even if that meant creating a rumor that Rihanna was having an affair with Jay-Z. Let’s rewind back to 2005, Rihanna was being managed under Jay-Z’s record label and her first single Pon De Replay was due for release. Everyone went crazy over the rumor and it took TEN YEARS for her publicity team to finally admit it was all made up.
In 2015, Rihanna’s ex-producer, Jonathan Hay, confessed he created the rumor simply to boost her career. He told Inside Edition, “I was desperate at the time because I wanted to have a hit record. We were young and stupid.” Hay claims that he has apologized to Beyonce for potentially wrecking her marriage but hey…at least he got what he wanted and now Rihanna is a global superstar.
11. When She Tried To Convince Us She Was A Good Girl
In what appeared to be the blink of an eye – squeaky clean Rihanna went from everyone’s sweetest pop starlet to full-blown bad gal RiRi. In her career that has grown over 11 years, she has gathered 14 tattoos, scandalous headlines, and shown sexually provocative antics in videos for S&M, B***h Better Have My Money and Pour It Up.
Rihanna revealed that she changed image as she was fed up with listening to other people. She told The Mirror, “I was sick of listening to what everyone else wanted. This is the way I like to look and sound, so I became very rebellious.” Rihanna then joined a line of female artists who had taken full control of their own image including Lady Gaga, Madonna and Beyonce.
10. When She Claimed She Wasn’t Dating Leonardo DiCaprio
When are these celebrities going to learn that we still recognize their faces behind sunglasses and baseball caps? Since Leo put on a lavish birthday bash for RiRi last year, her fans have been constantly asking if the two are officially together – but she has always claimed they are just very close friends.
Then the pair were spotted getting close at Coachella festival last week, as they drank tequila and sang along to the bands. As Leo has been known for dating almost every model in the world, he might be looking for something completely different in Rihanna – someone with a darker side. But we may never know, as Rihanna won’t come clean about this one.
9. When That Coachella Video Leaked
Last year, Rihanna was caught on camera at Coachella, looking like she was tapping a suspicious white powder on a table and then rubbing her own nose. It was enough for everyone to assume she was in the middle of taking Class A drugs.
Well, according to the popstar herself – we were all very wrong. She posted on her Instagram that what was actually on the table was “a joint that I’m basing with cigarette.” One fan commented on her post that she was most certainly using cocaine, which caused Rihanna to hit back with: “Who the F snorts tobacco??!! FOH witcho never been to a rodeo so someone squeezing their nose means they’re doing coke!!”. She certainly has a way of standing up for herself.
8. When She Wore Fur Despite Protests From Fans
In 2012, Rihanna angered fans and animal rights group PETA after she was photographed wearing thigh-high snakeskin boots. A PETA spokesperson told the Daily Express, “Rihanna may not have a clue that snakes killed for boots are often nailed to a tree and skinned alive. Of course, they can’t go on Oprah to cry about it.” So how did Rihanna respond to people expressing how hurt they were seeing animals harmed? She wore even more fur…
In 2015, she launched her new perfume at Macy’s in Brooklyn, New York, wearing a chinchilla coat. Angry protestors burst in and chanted” “Shame on Rihanna! Shame on Rihanna! Fifty dead animals – one fur coat.” Then she went even further at the Met Ball Gala the same year, when she rocked up wearing a bright yellow fur-trimmed gown. It appears Rihanna will always put couture before creatures.
7. When She Cancelled Her Tour With Kanye
Rihanna got her fans all hyped up when she announced there would be a tour with Kanye West – then went ahead and cancelled it. The tour was scheduled to start at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds in July 2015, following the success of their hit together, FourFiveSeconds featuring Paul McCartney, but then it all fell through as the stars became too difficult to pin together.
Eva Palm, head promoter for Live Nation, told Eesti Express, “It started to feel like something was wrong. How hard can it be to photograph and design a poster? Still the process was stalling. One time it was because photos couldn’t be taken as Rihanna was ill. Then Kanye was somewhere in Paris. There was always something that prevented Rihanna and Kanye West from being on the same photo.” Before adding, “The promoters were told: ‘We’re sorry this has happened but the tour won’t be taking place’. We’ll see what happens and if this tour will ever take place.” Nice way to keep the fans happy – build them up, then shut them down.
6. When She Physically Assaulted A Fan
Rihanna has her unstoppable “Navy” – a sea of fans who worship her and will buy into anything she promotes. She once wrote a personal letter to the Navy which read: “We continue down this road together, strong, united, uncensored and fearless. As we continue this journey together, we’ll write new stories, share more laughs, meet new people, tell more stories in faith in hope and take not one moment for granted.”
Well one member of the Navy certainly had a story tell – when Rihanna violently hit him in the face with a microphone during her show. During her Diamonds world tour in Birmingham, England, Rihanna walked off the stage to greet the crowd on the front row. One fan became over excited and would not let go of her arm, so Rihanna hit him straight across the head with her mic. The force used on the fan was enough to shock fans in the crowd and really show off her mean side when it comes to her fans getting too close.
5. When She Dropped The BBHMM Video
Last year, when Rihanna dropped her video for the single “B**ch Better Have My Money”, many were shocked as the scenes were gruesome, violent and outright cruel. She co-directed the seven minute video herself, where she kidnaps a blonde woman, strips her naked, hangs her upside down and tortures her.
Barbara Ellen wrote for The Guardian, “The main issue here is surely: misogyny. BHMM’s plot (I’m angry with an accountant so I’m gonna kill his chick) has no nuance no artistry. As a well-known victim of domestic violence, maybe – astonishingly – Rihanna doesn’t give a flying one about other females? BBHMM raises issues of blatant female-on-female hatred.”
4. When She Was Fake BFF’s With Katy Perry
You know what these Hollywood relationships are like – one minute we see stars become the best of friends and the next they are at each other’s throats. Rihanna and fellow pop singer Katy Perry knew exactly how to play the cameras and would make headlines just by sitting next to each other at award shows. They were a publicists dream.
Then their true feelings for each other came to light following a fall out last year. Hollywood Life reported that Katy Perry had dissed Rihanna over her relationship which caused Rihanna to hit back and diss Perry for dating “sleaze bag” John Mayer. Well, even if they are no longer “BFF’s” at least they both have one thing still in common – their love for bad boys.
3. When She Took The Endangered Animal Selfie
Rihanna took a seemingly harmless selfie in Thailand with a slow lorris while on a break from her Diamonds world tour. She posed with the creature on her shoulder alongside the caption: “Look who was talkin dirty to me! #Thailand #nightlife”. Fans rushed to tell the star how cute she looked but all was not as it seemed.
Soon after, two men were arrested as the slow loris is an endangered species which should be kept in a strict conservation program, instead of taking selfies with celebs. The slow loris and many other endangered species are often poached so money can be made from the tourist trade. The moral of the story is – Rihanna should have known better.
2. When She Played Us And Drake
Rihanna is not only playing with Drake’s heart but also our own. Since 2013, we have followed their on-off sexual chemistry as they gyrate on each other but never confirm anything serious. Their on stage chemistry is enough to make anyone sweat, then just when we think they are going to become the coolest celebrity couple – Rihanna runs off to Coachella with Leonardo DiCaprio.
1. When She Took Back Chris Brown
In 2008, Rihanna started dating Chris Brown. A year later, she was forced to cancel a performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards after he had beaten her and left her face badly swollen. TMZ.com leaked a photograph revealing the extent of Rihanna’s injuries. After she testified against him in court, he was charged with assault, sentenced to five years probation and to keep away from her at public events.
Then what felt like just a matter of months later, Rihanna was photographed cuddling into Chris Brown for the cameras – fans were upset after feeling they had supported the star through all the bad times, only for her to take back the man that had beaten her. Later in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Rihanna confessed this was a bad decision. She revealed, “I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn’t understand him.You want the best for them. (But) if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you (deserve) this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.” It took Rihanna longer than others to realise Chris Brown was bad news – but she got there in the end.
Sources: etonline.com, latimes.com