Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS
Don't like the way Rihanna has handled the drama in her personal life? Maybe the fictionalized TV version will be more satisfying! Or not.
The Feb. 27 episode of Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET) -- which portrays a pop star in an abusive relationship with a hip-hop star -- is clearly inspired by the real-life domestic abuse that Rihanna suffered at the hands of her boyfriend, Chris Brown.
The actual Rihanna, of course, is back with Brown despite his 2009 assault on her (and a continuing penchant for violence in general). The pop star at the center of the SVU episode also stands by her man (who's named Caleb), even after photos of her bruised and swollen face (like Rihanna's) were released to the public.
"Caleb has a hold on her," says Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) in the preview. "Going against him feels impossible."
It's as if the show's producers are trying to offer an explanation for Rihanna's baffling decision to return to the relationship. After all, four years since beating her up, Brown still doesn't appear to have curbed his penchant for violence. In 2011, he lost his temper and smashed a window at the Good Morning America studios. And last month, he was allegedly involved in a parking lot altercation with Frank Ocean. But not only is Rihanna dating Brown again, she just celebrated her birthday with him in Hawaii and continues to post intimate photos of the pair on Instagram.
"When you add up the pieces from the outside, it's not the cutest puzzle in the world," Rihanna told Rolling Stone. "You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know. But it's different now. We don't have those types of arguments anymore."
Still, it's been hard for the public to forgive and forget. "As a responsible public rubbernecking into their lives, we feel for her," relationship expert Gilda Carle, Ph. D. recently told The Huffington Post. "We feel that if she pushes his buttons again, he has not gotten the necessary wherewithal to channel his anger in a productive way. We don’t want to see a repeat of what we saw before."
In the SVU episode, the singer's determination to stay in the relationship turns out to be a mistake. But ironically [SPOILER ALERT!] it's Caleb who ends up dead. (Hey, a ratings-hungry TV show isn't going to pass up a chance at a surprise twist!)
Back in real life, we're forced to look on as Rihanna continues down the road she's chosen. "I decided it was more important for me to be happy," she told Rolling Stone about her decision to take up with Brown again, despite fans' lingering suspicions about him. "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 ... i'd rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it."
We sure hope so.