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