The 'We Found Love' singer was left bloodied and bruised in February 2009 when Chris attacked her in a car ahead of the Grammy Awards.
The photos of Rihanna's injuries were broadcast around the world and the couple split, before she took him back, then split for a second time.
Speaking in the new issue of Vanity Fair, the star spoke candidly about that reconciliation and her thoughts on Chris now, six years after the attack.
"I was that girl, that girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others," she reflected.
"Maybe I'm one of those people built to handle s**t like this. Maybe I'm the person who's almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they're not strong enough, when they're not understanding the world, when they just need someone to encourage them in a positive way and say the right thing."
When the interviewer asked Rihanna if she felt she could change Chris, she replied: "A hundred percent. I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn't understand him."
However, she said that eventually she realised she needed to walk away. Now, they "don't have much of a relationship."
She said: "I don't hate him. I will care about him until the day I die. We're not friends, but it's not like we're enemies. We don't have much of a relationship now."
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