R&B singer Rihanna has opened up about her struggles to maintain a strictly platonic relationship with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, calling him the "love of my life".
The couple's relationship came to an end when Brown beat the Umbrella singer on the eve of the Grammy Awards in 2009.
Brown, who is now dating model Karrueche Tran, was charged with assault, placed on probation, and ordered to stay away from his ex, but that restraining order was lifted last year. Since then the pair have teamed up twice in the studio.
The reunion has sparked rumours of a possible romantic reconciliation, but Rihanna says the two are nothing more than friends.
During an interview on US TV show Oprah's Next Chapter, which aired in America on Sunday, she said: "He's in a relationship of his own, I'm single, but we have maintained a very close friendship ever since the restraining order was dropped. We just worked on it, little by little, and it has not been easy ... We built a trust again and that's it. We love each other and we probably always will and that's not anything we're gonna try to change."
The pair were last spotted hanging out during a recent boating trip in St Tropez, France, and Rihanna admits such meetings are tough because she is forced to hide her true feelings.
She added: "It's awkward because I still love him. My stomach drops and I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the outer part of me ... I think he was the love of my life."