In a tearful interview with Oprah Winfrey for her show "Oprah's Next Chapter," which is set to air on Sunday, Bajan singer Rihanna revealed how "protective" she still is of ex-boyfriend Chris Brown -- even though he brutally assaulted her and left her battered and bruised after a pre-Grammy party in 2009.

"It was a weird, confusing space to be in," Rihanna told the media mogul. "Because as angry as I was, as angry and hurt and betrayed, I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help and who's going to help him? Nobody's going to say he needs help. Everybody's going to say he's a monster without looking at the source, and I was more concerned about him."

Brown owned up to the assault and was sentenced to serve five years probation, along with community service and one year of domestic-violence counseling.

But the embattled rap star has yet to reform his violent ways, Brown was involved in a brawl at New York's W.i.P nightclub with lyrical nemesis Drake, which left him with a rather nasty gash on his chin and his bodyguard with serious brain injuries. NBA superstar Tony Parker also sustained injuries that night and has since sued club.

"I lost my best friend. Everything I knew switched ... switched in a night and I couldn't control that," Rihanna, 24, told Winfrey. "So I had to deal with that, and that's not easy for me to understand or interpret. It's not easy to interpret on camera. Not with the world watching."

Winfrey seemed quite impressed with Rihanna.

"I went there with my own ideas about who she was, watching the videos and listening to her music," Winfrey said in the episode's trailer. "I thought she was going to be kind of a bad-ass, kind of a hard edged rocker, pop woman. Nothing could have been further from the truth."