Picture of bruised Rihanna sparks police probe

Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:26pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The first picture of a bruised and bloodied Rihanna after her alleged assault by singer Chris Brown has surfaced on the Internet, prompting an investigation by Los Angeles police into how it was leaked.

Celebrity website TMZ.com said its photo of the Barbados-born singer, who turned 21 on Friday, was taken after she was beaten on February 8 after leaving a pre-Grammy Awards party with R&B star Brown, her boyfriend of more than a year.

It shows the "Umbrella" singer with her eyes closed and her lower lip bloodied and swollen. There are also bruises and blood streaks on her cheek and two long, thin marks on her forehead.

"At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," her representatives said in a statement on Friday.

"She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."

Police and prosecutors have not officially disclosed that Rihanna was the victim of Brown's assault, although she has been widely named in numerous media stories and Friday's statement appeared to indicate that.

Brown, 19, who had hits with "Run It!" and "Forever," was arrested on February 8 on suspicion of making criminal threats against a woman and prosecutors are deciding whether to file charges against him.

The clean-cut, rising star with a huge teen fan base said last week he was "sorry and saddened" about the incident and was seeking counseling.   Continued...

<p>In this photo released by TMZ.com, R&amp;B singer Rihanna is shown shortly after her alleged assault February 8, 2009. R&amp;B star Chris Brown, who was arrested last weekend on suspicion of attacking a woman widely believed to be the pop star Rihanna, said on Sunday he was "sorry and saddened" about the incident, and was seeking counseling. REUTERS/TMZ.com/Handout</p>