Entertainment Music Rihanna Says She 'Took a While' to Let A$AP Rocky 'Out of the Friend Zone' In a new Vogue cover story, the performer spoke about the long road to romance with the rapper, whom she first met in 2012 By Jack Irvin Jack Irvin Instagram Twitter Digital Music Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 12, 2022 11:35 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Rihanna is opening up about how her relationship with A$AP Rocky came to be. In a new Vogue cover story published Tuesday, the performer spoke at length about the long road to romance with the 33-year-old rapper, whom she first met in 2012, telling the magazine it takes her some time to establish a true relationship. "People don't get out of the friend zone very easily with me," Rihanna, 34, told Vogue. "And I certainly took a while to get over how much I know him and how much he knows me, because we also know how much trouble we can land each other in." The Savage X Fenty CEO recalled her first time meeting Rocky when they performed a remix of Rihanna's "Cockiness" at the 2012 MTV VMAs — and he made an unexpected move toward her during the televised broadcast. "He grabbed my ass on stage. That was not part of the rehearsal! … I was like, What are you doing!?," said the Anti musician, noting she swiftly brushed it off, which she wouldn't usually do. "My manager was like, Oh, God, she must like this guy a little bit. She never lets this s— slide." A$AP Rocky and Rihanna. Rich Fury/Getty Speaking about the development of their relationship, Rihanna said Rocky "became [her] family" amid their time spent together in COVID lockdown, during which they embarked on a summer 2020 tour bus road trip from Los Angeles to New York. The vacation consisted of the "Umbrella" hitmaker cooking food outdoors on a "little janky grill … from Walmart," and her boyfriend tie-dyeing t-shirts. For more on Rihanna, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. For the 2020 holiday season, the couple traveled to Rihanna's native Barbados — where Rocky's father is also originally from — for a formal introduction between the rapper and Rihanna's mother Monica Braithwaite, whose approval isn't easy to earn, her daughter told Vogue. "My mother has a really good read on people. She observes first and then she'll move slowly. I guess I'm like that too," she detailed. "There are some guys that I've dated that she won't even look at to this day. But she was charmed by him from the jump." Rihanna covers the May 2022 issue of Vogue. Annie Leibovitz/Vogue Why Pregnant Rihanna Swore Off Shopping for Clothes in the 'Maternity Aisle': 'There's No Way' From the great outdoors to the world's biggest stages, Rihanna spoke about appreciating their A-list relationship's versatility. "I love the simple things but also the grand adventures… There's no pretentious my-brand-your-brand bulls—, it's just us living," she explained. "I just feel like I can do any part of life by his side." Rihanna for the May 2022 issue of Vogue. Annie Leibovitz/Vogue Elsewhere in the interview, of course, the billionaire entrepreneur was asked about the state of her long-awaited ninth studio album, which will mark her first since 2016's Anti — "My best album to this day," she remarked. While she's preparing for the birth of her first child, Rihanna insisted the album is still coming, though she's taking a fresh approach to creating new material, free from prospects of competing with any of her musician peers. "I'm looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better," she revealed. "It's authentic, it'll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off."