rihanna: ‘i won’t call Drake my boyfriend’
They’re closer than ever – he even told the world he’s loved her for seven long years – so why won’t Rihanna put a label on her relationship with Drake?
Rihanna and Drake, Drake and Rihanna – it’s a relationship that’s been on again and off again more times than we’ve had Friday G&TS. The pair seem to have put on a united front once and for all: after hanging out with her family at the MTV VMA Awards, they went on a date to Nobu before jetting to Miami to go to the E11EVEN club, where they were seen whispering intimately. To all intents and purposes they looked every bit the happy couple. But… well, it’s never simple with these two, is it?
According to our insiders, Riri’s still not keen to publicly label their relationship, despite Drake making yet another public declaration of love (more on this later). Awkward much? A source explains that Rihanna thinks that if they keep people guessing, she’ll be able to keep some of their relationship to herself.
‘In the past Rihanna has been very open about her romances, posting pictures and talking about them in interviews,’ says a friend. ‘But she’s tired of all that. She sees how hard it is for other couples who parade their private lives – like Beyoncé and Jay Z – and she really doesn’t want that. She doesn’t even really want to call Drake her boyfriend.’
This is despite the fact that their mystery relationship has gone on for seven years now. They first met at a birthday party in 2009 before allegedly being seen snogging later that year, but in 2010 Ri was quick to deny there was anything going on: ‘We just went out – my friends, his friends,’ she revealed, while Drake – clearly playing it cool – sang: ‘You could’ve been the one, but it wasn’t that serious,’ on his track Fireworks. Then, when they first performed on stage together in 2011, even we were convinced these two were made for each other – talk about chemistry.
So surely, after countless album track mentions and joint performances, seven years is
long enough to be able to call him your boyfriend, no? But when it comes to labels, Riri’s still keeping everything on the down-low, refusing to admit how she really feels. That seems to have made Drake chase her more, because recently he’s not been backwards about letting Ri – and the world – know how he feels.
Before handing Rihanna the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Video Music Award at the recent VMAS, he announced that: ‘She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. She’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me. She’s a living, breathing legend in our industry.’
Seconds later, the pair kissed on stage (yeah, we may have done a little squeal) and were caught looking very loved-up and cute behind the scenes. Later, Drake shared a picture of them looking every bit the happy couple with the caption: ‘This is a night for us all to be thankful for what you have done for us! You have affected so many of our lives in the best way possible. Tonight we celebrate you! @badgalriri’.
And as if we needed further confirmation of their couple status, they put on winning smiles to pose with Rihanna’s family, who had come to support her. They were even seen holding hands.
It’s undeniable that Drake has been putting in a lot of leg work, declaring his love for 28-year-old Ri on stage on several occasions. In April, while guesting on her ANTI World Tour in Toronto, he called her ‘the greatest woman I’ve ever known in my life’; in June, in Manchester, he said she was ‘the most beautiful, talented woman I’ve ever seen’; and in New York in August he told the crowds: ‘You know I got love for Rihanna’. Subtle.
A friend says: ‘Drake would really prefer that they go public and he’s been going all out to show the world how serious he is. He’s told her he’s totally committed to her and she’s said the same. They’re not dating anyone else at the moment, and he’d really love to be able to call her his girlfriend.’ But insiders say Riri’s got control over the situation: ‘Rihanna’s being really savvy about this. She finds the public affection a bit cringey. She knows that if they make things official it opens the floodgates for people to ask about when they’ll get married or if they’re going to have children. She doesn’t want them to be followed any more than they already are.’
Drake has previously revealed that Ri is the only woman who’s ever made him feel ‘small’, telling the New York Times that the singer was prone to ghosting him. ‘She was doing exactly what I’ve done to so many women throughout my life, which is show them quality time, then disappear. I was like, wow, this feels terrible.’
Fearing he’d offended the singer, Drake later clarified the statement, adding: ‘She is an amazing woman that made me feel nervous, man. She’s an overwhelming being, like, she’s beautiful and talented and her personality – it’s almost, like, scary.’ Erm, still doesn’t sound like a compliment if we’re honest, Drake.
It’s little wonder that Rihanna finds the whole public dating thing hard. In the last year alone she’s been linked to Leonardo Dicaprio and Travis Scott, but things between her and the rapper cooled quickly, reportedly leaving Ri hurt.
‘Fame really freaks me out,’ she
She does like him but she’s being very savvy about this
admitted last year. ‘It made me back away from even wanting to attempt to date. It’s become second nature for me to just close that door and just be OK with that. I’m always concerned about whether people have good or bad intentions.’
Her relationship with Chris Brown – her last serious boyfriend – came to a nasty end in front of the cameras. The pair dated until 2009, when he brutally attacked her following a pre-grammys party. They later reunited but split again in 2012, with the ups and downs of their time together heavily documented. Last week Chris was back in the headlines again after he allegedly threatened a woman with a gun in LA.
‘Drake’s been trying his hardest to make her see that this could be different,’ says a friend. ‘But Rihanna’s taking a long time to come around to his way of thinking.’
Maybe give it another seven years, hon – we’re sure you’ll get there…
Ri and Drake pose with her family