Brown was arrested in 2009 for beating Rihanna following a fight as they left Clive Davis' Grammy party. He pled guilty to assault and had a restraining order placed on him, preventing him from seeing Rihanna.
However, the order has since been lifted and the pair have forged a "very, very close" friendship.
Speaking about the relationship during a no-holds-barred interview on Oprah Winfrey's "SuperSoul Conversations" podcast, Rihanna explains: "We've been working on our friendship again. Now we're very very close friends. We've built up a trust again, and that's - we love each other and we probably always will. And that's not something we're ever going to change. That's not something you can shut off, if you've ever been in love.
"I think he was the love of my life. He was the first love. And I see that he loved me the same way... it's not even about us being together. I truly love him. So the main thing for me is that he's at peace. I'm not at peace if he's a little unhappy, or he's still lonely."
When Oprah asks if Rihanna and Chris have rekindled their romance, she replies: "He's in a relationship of his own. I'm single but we have maintained a very close friendship ever since the restraining order has been dropped. We've just worked on it, little by little, and it has not been easy. It's not easy."
It was when Rihanna mended her relationship with her father, who was abusive to her mother, that she was really able to forgive Chris.
"It took me a long time, I was angry for a long time," she admits. "I felt like this is not my fault, this is not me doing this, and still I have to worry - I was resentful, I had a grudge, I was angry, I was dark. It was coming out in my music, in my clothes, in my attitude and I didn't like that feeling, it was heavy."
"I repaired my relationship with my dad. I was so angry with him, and I was just angry about a lot of things from my childhood and I couldn't separate him as a husband from him as a father. I felt like if he was a bad husband then he was a bad father. I witnessed a lot as a child. Yes he was (violent)... I remember just thinking one day, why can't I get to a place where I can let somebody in? Why can't I love? I wanted to know why. I would think, 'What is my idea of what is supposed to happen?' I wasn't having a relationship with my father anymore so I wasn't able to connect with a man past a certain point."
"The minute I was able to realise that my father was probably one of the best fathers in the world. He taught me everything. And as awful as he was to my mum at times, it didn't compare to how great he was as a father. And I had to come to terms with that. And I was able to close that gap with him. And all kinds of emotions started happening after that. All kind of things started making sense."
She concludes: "I thought I hated Chris and I realised it was love was tarnished. It looked like hate because it was ugly, angry, it was inflamed, it was tainted. And I realised that what it was is I had to forgive him because I cared about him still. And the minute I let go of that, I started living again."