August 17, 2012 10:45 AM

As Chris Brown focuses on making a career comeback, Rihanna has opened up to Oprah Winfrey about her rocky past with the R&B singer – including the February 2009 night when he assaulted her.

“I lost my best friend,” she tells Oprah in a candid interview airing Sunday at 9 p.m. on OWN. “Everything I knew switched in one night. And I couldn’t control that.”

But despite feeling “angry … hurt, and betrayed,” Rihanna still felt more concerned for Brown’s state of mind than her own.

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“It was a weird, confusing space to be in, because as angry as I was … I just felt he made that mistake because he needed help,” she says. “[And I wondered], who’s going to help him?”

Brown, whose fifth studio album, Fortune, dropped in June, has continued to make headlines other reasons. In June, he reportedly got into a bar brawl with fellow R&B singer Drake, and in March of last year, he allegedly smashed a window at the Good Morning America studios after an interview about Rihanna.

Still, Rihanna asserts that Brown’s actions have been misinterpreted by the public. “No one’s going to say, ‘He needs help,'” she says. “Everybody’s going to say, ‘He’s a monster. Without looking at the source.'”

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