‘I

Look (UK) - - COVER STORY -

hit a wall, I never felt so low.’ As Ri­hanna de­buted her heartwrench­ing new bal­lad Sledge­ham­mer, friends re­vealed to Look that this new song is ac­tu­ally a real in­sight into her mood right now. Es­pe­cially as the track – which in­cludes the lines ‘I’m brac­ing for the pain, I’m let­ting go, I’m us­ing all my strength to get out of this hole’ – comes just a week af­ter she broke down in tears in front of a stunned crowd at Dublin’s Aviva Sta­dium.

A friend said: ‘Ri­hanna isn’t in great shape right now. She’s in­cred­i­bly lonely and there’s no re­lief in sight. She’s got this ex­haust­ing tour in Europe and it’s be­gin­ning to feel like Ground­hog Day. Her tour friends are do­ing their best but she’s shut­ting ev­ery­one out.’

Last week Ri, 28, even looked down­beat as she at­tended Ni­cole Scherzinger’s birth­day bash in Lon­don, fail­ing to raise a smile as she passed pho­tog­ra­phers. And de­spite her gru­elling sched­ule, post-gigs Ri spent three nights out in a row par­ty­ing with her on-off ex Drake, leav­ing clubs at 5.30am while stay­ing in the same Lon­don ho­tel as the rap­per. Now friends are wor­ried that if Ri doesn’t take some time out, she could be headed for se­ri­ous trou­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to our sources, one of Ri­hanna’s main con­cerns is her ca­reer – not least be­cause her Anti tour has been fail­ing to sell out. Last week, as she took to the stage in Lon­don, fans no­ticed Wem­b­ley Sta­dium was only half full, and when she per­formed in Dublin only 60 per cent of the seats were sold. ‘Ri­hanna feels that the ca­reers of her peers, like Tay­lor Swift, are go­ing from strength to strength,’ said a friend. ‘But she’s not so sure of her place right now. She’s be­gin­ning to ques­tion whether she’s good enough.’ Pals say it hasn’t helped that her lat­est al­bum’s sold un­der half a mil­lion copies in the US; by com­par­i­son her 2007 al­bum Good Girl Gone Bad sold over three mil­lion.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Ri­hanna’s crazy sched­ule has got the bet­ter of her. In 2011, she re­vealed she’d had a ‘break­down’ that led her to can­cel a tour date in Swe­den af­ter she woke up one morn­ing and couldn’t stop cry­ing fol­low­ing weeks of 5am fin­ishes. But she’s still burn­ing the can­dles at both ends. ‘She’s barely sleep­ing again at the mo­ment,’ says our source. ‘She’s get­ting just four hours a night and throw­ing her­self into work but the re­sult is that she’s ex­hausted and highly emo­tional.’ Our in­sider re­veals that one of the big­gest prob­lems is that Ri­hanna has no one to share her stresses and wor­ries with. ‘At the end of the day she just doesn’t have any­one to look af­ter her,’ says a friend. Just last year she told Van­ity Fair that she finds be­ing sin­gle hard and that she throws her­self into work to take her mind off things: ‘It is lonely, but I have so much work to do that I get dis­tracted,’ she said.

Ri also said that she wants a man who is a true gen­tle­man, some­thing she hasn’t been able to find thus far. ‘[Men] think be­ing a real man is ac­tu­ally be­ing a pussy, that if you take a chair out for a lady,or you’re nice or even af­fec­tion­ate to your girl in front of your boys, you’re less of a man. It’s so sick. That’s what we’re deal­ing with now, 100 per cent, and girls are set­tling for that, but I won’t,’ she re­vealed.

Our source says Ri’s find­ing things es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult at the mo­ment as it’s five years to the month since she re­united with her ex Chris Brown and she can’t help but won­der if she’ll meet some­one she con­nects with again. ‘This mile­stone has hit her hard,’ said a source. ‘She’s never found it easy to have a re­la­tion­ship af­ter all they went through and this an­niver­sary just re­minds her of how alone she feels.’

The pair met in 2005 but their re­la­tion­ship came to a dra­matic end in 2009 af­ter Chris as­saulted Ri­hanna fol­low­ing a pre-gram­mys party. Chris was later charged and hit with a re­strain­ing or­der. How­ever, in 2011 the pair rekin­dled their re­la­tion­ship, but went their sep­a­rate ways two years later. Since then Ri’s been linked to Drake, Leonardo Dicaprio and rap­per Travis Scott, but none of her re­la­tion­ships have stuck.

And de­spite spend­ing time with Drake, who she’s been linked to since 2009 (yep, seven years ago), they’ve never man­aged to make it of­fi­cial. Drake even hinted that Ri could still be string­ing him along, telling the packed crowd at her Manch­ester gig: ‘I’m get­ting my heart bro­ken.’ ‘Ri­hanna likes to keep guys at arm’s length,’ says the friend. ‘She likes to have con­trol, but she’s be­gin­ning to re­alise that she’d like some­one to be able to come home to at night – she just doesn’t know who. It can be a hard life liv­ing out of a suit­case, es­pe­cially when you’re do­ing it on your own.’ We’re sure there are plenty of guys who wouldn’t say no, Ri!

Ri wor­ries she’ll never find an­other Chris

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