NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's official: R&B diva Rihanna says she is back together with Chris Brown, who is still on probation for assaulting her in 2009, saying "It's different now."
"I decided it was more important for me to be happy," Rihanna told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview published on Wednesday on its website.
"I wasn't going to let anybody's opinion get in the way of that. Even if it's a mistake, it's my mistake," she said of her renewed romance with singer Brown, 23, that has prompted consternation from fans and celebrity media because of their history.
"After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I'd rather just live my truth and take the backlash," said Rihanna, 24, adding, "I can handle it."
The couple's reconciliation had been rumored for months, even before the pair unveiled a duet, "Nobody's Business," in November. That track was included on Rihanna's latest album "Unapologetic."
Brown pleaded guilty in 2009 to beating and punching Rihanna. He was sentenced to community service, anger management classes, given a restraining order and is still on probation.
The Barbadian singer told Oprah Winfrey in an emotional interview in August that she and Brown now had a "very close friendship," and that she still loved him.
"When you add up the pieces from the outside, it's not the cutest puzzle in the world," Rihanna admitted to Rolling Stone, which hits newsstands this week with her gracing the cover above the headline, "Rihanna Crazy In Love."
"You see us walking somewhere ... and you think you know. But it's different now. We don't have those types of arguments anymore. We talk," she said. "We value each other."
But she noted that Brown is on probation with her as well, saying, "He doesn't have the luxury of (messing) up again."
"That's just not an option ... And I wouldn't have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility."
The interview was published three days after Brown's latest dustup, which involved fellow musician Frank Ocean, over a parking space at a West Hollywood recording studio. Ocean has said he wants Brown prosecuted following the Sunday brawl.
In 2012 Rihanna was rated by Time and Forbes magazines as among the world's and celebrity arena's most powerful people.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Philip Barbara