A Comprehensive Timeline of Drake & Rihanna's Complicated, Confusing, Adorable Relationship
So, are they or aren’t they an item?
It’s the question fans of Drihanna/Aubrih have been asking since Drake and Rihanna first sparked rumors of a potential love connection – which, let’s be honest, isn’t particularly hard to believe considering the pair’s undeniable chemistry, made apparent in their live performances, song collaborations and subsequent music video cameos.
While we’ll never forget the rapper’s swoon-worthy profession of love for his on-again, off-again leading lady at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, we’re taking a look back at the pair’s history in an attempt to decode their relationship status, which may be difficult considering Drake and Rihanna’s years-long past – filled with breakup and reconciliation rumors that have left our hearts emotionally wounded. Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? If you’ve been following along since day one, totally.
THEY MEET ON THE SET OF RIHANNA’S ‘PON DE REPLAY’ MUSIC VIDEO – 2005
It all started in 2005 at a Toronto diner, where Rihanna shot the music video for her debut single “Pon de Replay.”
DRAKE & RIHANNA GO BOWLING – MAY 2009
Sounds like a harmless way to pass the time with friends, right? Not according to the New York Post‘s Page Six, which reported that the pair were spotted making out at an N.Y.C. bowling alley following the demise of Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown. Drake went so far as to mention the memorable night in “Fireworks.” The lyrics for the 2010 track read: “Who could’ve predicted Lucky Strikes would have you stuck with me/What happened between us that night it always seems to trouble me.” Rihanna was quick to squash rumors of a relationship, saying in an interview that she and the up-and-coming rapper were just friends.
DRAKE SAYS RIHANNA TREATED HIM LIKE A ‘PAWN’ – JUNE 2010
“You know what she was doing to me? She was doing exactly what I’ve done to so many women throughout my life, which is show them quality time, then disappear,” he told the New York Times. “I was like, wow, this feels terrible.” The supposed bad blood was quick to dissipate as the pair eventually collaborated on Rihanna’s “What’s My Name?” a few months later.
DRAKE & RIHANNA PERFORM AT THE GRAMMYS – FEBRUARY 2011
They may not have made things official, but the stars were certainly sparking relationship rumors with their performance of “What’s My Name?” at the 2011 Grammys. And it seems as if their onstage chemistry carried on to real life, as they were spotted showing PDA at a Canadian nightclub a few months later that July.
RIHANNA COLLABORATES WITH DRAKE ON ‘TAKE CARE’ – APRIL 2012
Chris Brown and Rihanna got back together (they would go on to split once more in May 2013) and collaborated on “Birthday Cake,” but that didn’t stop Rihanna from working on Drake’s 2012 single “Take Care.” The lyrics are telling: “Can’t deny that I want you, but I’ll lie if I have to / Cause you don’t say you love me to your friends when they ask you / Even though we both know that you do … you do.”
DRAKE TELLS ELLEN WHAT HE THINKS OF RIHANNA – SEPTEMBER 2013
“Yeah, great girl,” Drake said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show when the talk show host surprised the rapper by asking about his on-again, off-again relationship with Rihanna. “We had our moment. Always support and have love for her and yeah …”
DRAKE CALLS RIHANNA HIS ‘ULTIMATE FANTASY’ – FEBRUARY 2014
Drake is not one to hold back, and a February interview with Rolling Stone proved no different: When speaking about Rihanna, the rapper described her as his “ultimate fantasy.” In March, the pair took a European vacation together, fueling years-long relationship rumors.
RIHANNA SHARES HER RELATIONSHIP STATUS WITH VANITY FAIR – NOVEMBER 2015
The “Kiss It Better” crooner was quick to tell Vanity Fair in a cover story that her “last real, official boyfriend was Chris Brown.”
DRAKE & RIHANNA GET TO ‘WORK’ – FEBRUARY 2016
If this doesn’t serve as proof that the pair are totally made for each other, we don’t know what will. After wrapping filming on Rihanna’s sexy music video, Drake appeared alongside the singer on tour, often recreating their sultry moves for concertgoers.
RIHANNA GETS IN THE STUDIO WITH DRAKE – JUNE 2016
Rihanna also makes an appearance on Drake’s highly anticipated album Views, supplying vocals for “Too Good,” the heart-wrenching single that may provide some insight on the pair’s complicated relationship. The lyrics read: “And last night I think I lost my patience / Last night I got high as the expectations / Last night, I came to a realization / And I hope you can take it,” with Rihanna going on to insinuate that she’s placed the rapper in the friend zone.
DRAKE & RIHANNA KEEP THEIR RELATIONSHIP ON THE DL – JULY 2016
From the looks of their chemistry on and off the stage, Rihanna and Drake had to be dating – which is exactly what sources confirmed to PEOPLE after the rapper stopped hanging out with budding model Hailey Baldwin. “Hailey was a fling, but Drake has always wanted to make things work with Rihanna,” the insider revealed, adding: “They have been keeping it a secret because this time around, they want to do it right and keep their relationship private.”
DRAKE SURPRISES RIHANNA WITH A BILLBOARD – AUGUST 2016
Can you say relationship goals? (You know, if they actually are in a relationship …) Days before the VMAs, the rapper gifted the Barbadian beauty a larger-than-life sentiment in the form of a billboard, congratulating her on winning MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. RiRi posted a pic of the gesture on her Instagram with an emoji-filled caption – leading the rest of us to believe the pair certainly were on.
DRAKE PRESENTS RIHANNA WITH MTV’S VIDEO VANGUARD AWARD – AUGUST 2016
The pair’s relationship has had quite an impact on the “Hotline Bling” rapper, as he was quick to reveal when presenting Rihanna with the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Music Video Awards. “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old,” he said, before embracing Rihanna and going in for a kiss. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. She’s a living breathing legend in our industry.” After the show, the two grabbed dinner with friends and family, then headed to N.Y.C. hot spot Up & Down, where Drake “was literally shadowing her every movement and was just so affectionate and adoring the entire night,” a source told PEOPLE.
DRAKE CONGRATULATES RIHANNA ON INSTAGRAM – AUGUST 2016
“This is a night for us all to be thankful for what you have done for us!” he wrote on Instagram after the VMAs, captioning a couple-y pic of the pair. “You have affected so many of our lives in the best way possible. Tonight we celebrate you!”
DRAKE & RIHANNA SHARE A KISS ON STAGE – AUGUST 2016
Things continued to heat up for the pair: A few days after the rapper professed his love for the singer at the MTV Video Music Awards, Rihanna made a surprise appearance at Drake’s sold-out concert in Miami. And following a performance of her “Bitch Better Have My Money,” the pair came together and kissed before embracing.
RIHANNA THANKS DRAKE ON INSTAGRAM – SEPTEMBER 2016
In a lengthy Instagram post, the “Work” singer spoke about the night she received the Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 VMAs. “#VMA2016 night was one that I would never forget!! I have the most incredible people in my life!” she wrote, accompanying a clip of her acceptance speech. Rihanna also took a moment to mention the rapper: “[Drake] your speech was so touching and I love you for that!” she wrote.
DRAKE & RIHANNA GET MATCHING TATTOOS – SEPTEMBER 2016
Just days after Rihanna showed off her fresh ink of a camouflage-print shark (reminiscent of a plush shark Drake once gifted her) on her ankle, the Canadian rapper appeared to have the exact same tattoo on his right forearm during the New Orleans stop on his Summer Sixteen tour.
DRAKE & RIHANNA HAVE AN ‘OPEN’ RELATIONSHIP — OCTOBER 2016
A few months after the couple became official, Drake and Rihanna were still going strong. The musical pair had not parted ways, a source close to the couple confirms to PEOPLE, with one source adding “it’s an open thing.” The stars’ reps had not yet commented, however.
DRAKE GIVES RIHANNA A BIRTHDAY SHOUT-OUT DURING HIS CONCERT — FEBRUARY 2017
The rapper gave a special shout-out to his former flame during his Dublin concert on Feb. 20, a.k.a. RiRi’s 29th birthday.
“It’s somebody’s birthday today — somebody I have a lot of love for and a lot of respect for,” Drake said in fan-recorded videos.
“So, instead of singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ though, we just going to do this in Dublin. Instead of singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ we’re going to set it off just like this…” he said before shifting into a performance of “Work,” his collaboration with the singer.
RIHANNA SAYS SHE & DRAKE ARE NO LONGER TALKING — MAY 2018
In an interview for Vogue’s June issue published online on May 3, Rihanna admitted that she and the Canadian rapper are no longer close. “We don’t have a friendship now, but we’re not enemies either,” Rihanna (née Robyn Fenty) said. “It is what it is.” The hitmaker also shared that she is happily taken, though she remained coy about her beau’s identity.