Chris Brown knows that no one will ever forget the night he assaulted Rihanna before the February 2009 Grammys, but as he prepares to release his new album, he's hoping to put at least some of that old drama behind him. On Tuesday, the controversial R&B star stopped by Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM radio show, where he spoke candidly about what he learned from the incident, why it happened, and how he convinced Rihanna to not just forgive him but take him back.
Asked whether he thinks his youth was to blame for the violent outburst, which left his girlfriend's face bruised and swollen, the "Don't Judge Me" singer, now 23, replied: "I could [blame it] on my age, but that would just be making an excuse. I think that at age 18, 19, I was capable of writing and producing songs, so I'm also capable of making the right choices."
Brown admitted, however, that he "was arrogant and definitely hotheaded" at that age. "Everybody has a temper, but for me, it was not knowing how to control it when I thought I had the world in my hands," he explained.
After the assault, the star's public image went from good to bad -- to worse. Radio stations dropped his songs from their playlists, a judge ordered him to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna, and domestic violence organizations skewered him for both the crime and the punishment (which they felt was too lenient). Brown didn't do much to help himself at the time; he vented his frustrations on Twitter and deflected blame for the incident to his stepfather, who allegedly assaulted his mother. He also engaged in fights -- both physical and verbal -- with stars including Drake and Frank Ocean.
It was through those "trials and tribulations," the singer told Seacrest this week, that he learned his most important lesson. "You can lose it all. And I'm not just saying fame or stardom, because that's not what it's about," he explained. "I'm talking about dignity, integrity. You know, you lose yourself in a way. ... It was a learning step for me. ... I learned from certain mistakes, and I'm getting better as the days come."
"People are entitled to their opinions [about me]. I can't go around blaming [others]," he continued. "It's all about my responsibility and me growing up as a man. So I think now that I'm becoming older and trying to mature in the life under the public eye at all times, I have to focus on doing the right thing and being more of a humble individual."
Rihanna, at least, seems to think Brown is a changed man. After many months of secret trysts, the two publicly reunited last fall, more than three years after the assault.
"I just tried my best to be the best man I could be over the years, and just show her how remorseful and sorry I was for the incident," he explained. "That time was probably the worst part of my life. ... She's a wonderful person, and I'm eternally grateful and thankful [for her forgiveness]."
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