Rihanna is a Caribbean-pop culture sensation. Her musical achievements surpass even the greatest of entertainers. Rihanna’s life has not been a fairy tale, but more like a shadowy and beautiful glorious dream.
Rihanna’s childhood on the Caribbean island of Barbados was deeply impacted by her parent’s unstable relationship. Her parents divorced when Rihanna was 14. During the years to come, Rihanna found an outlet from her trials and tribulations through song.
Rihanna was just 16 when she nervously waited in a hotel lobby for a chance to audition for one of her icons. When rap mogul Jay-Z heard Rihanna sing a cover of Whitney Houston’s “For The Love Of You” he signed the songstress. “I signed her in one day,” Jay-Z said. “It took me two minutes to see she was a star!”
An astonishing eight albums later, this pop goddess has showed her resilience and consistency. Not only has she sold over 200 million records worldwide, but Rihanna also has a growing empire worth an estimated $160 million.
Since Rihanna’s discovery and her mega-success with hits such as “Umbrella” and “S.O.S”, Rihanna has been in and out of the headlines. Her presence alone can cause a frenzy among the masses. From reports about her troubled love life and family woes to her controversial sexual-pulsed lyrics, she is proven to be not only invincible, but indeed unapologetic. Rihanna’s latest release Anti showcases a lot of growth and depth as an artist, but who is this sensation and what do all her riches entail? Without further ado, here are 15 mysterious facts about Rihanna.
15. Had A Fling With Leonardo DiCaprio
Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio have been acquaintances for what seems like years. The media has always made speculations about the two stars since Rihanna traveled to her hometown in Barbados for a family event and Leo just happened to be around to accompany her there.
Sources say the two attended a wedding and that the the summer fling was fun with chill vibes. The two were also spotted at various lavish destinations. While visiting Paris, a paparazzi took an awkward picture of the Rihanna and Leo mid-smooch.
TMZ claims the kiss was a mere gesture of kindness and that the pair have put an end to their relations. Things appear to have remained calm, cool and cordial between the two. Pictures of “Rih-Rih” and Leo are scattered throughout the web, so much so that Leo once sued a French magazine for flagrant accusations about their relationship. Since Leo has won his coveted Academy Award, the two have been spotted at various hot spots.
14. Never Finished High School
For one reason or another, some of the most intellectual people do not finish schooling or perform poorly in a classroom setting. Many of the greatest minds never finish college and in some cases, many celebrities and public figures might not even graduate high school.
Rihanna dropped out of high school and never looked back. Rihanna may not have a diploma, but she has a plethora of other awards and honors. People magazine reports, “After forming a girl group with two classmates, Rihanna, 15, auditioned for veteran producer Evan Rogers: ‘The minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn’t exist.’ he said.” Rihanna ultimately moved to Connecticut to live with Evan and his family, while finishing a four-song demo.
“When I left Barbados, I didn’t look back,” Rihanna said. “I wanted to do what I had to do, even if it meant moving to America.” Soon after, Rihanna’s demo made its way to rapper Jay-Z and the rest is history.
13. Takes A Shot Before Performing
Many people are consumed with pressure before having to present or perform in school or at work and it’s no different for entertainers, world famous or not. Even though she might be supremely confident, Rihanna still gets nervous. She reportedly “takes a shot of liquor before every show to calm her nerves.” Rihanna isn’t the only musician to try out this strategy, rapper Lil Wayne takes a few shots before performing as well.
Rihanna is known for quite a few club rockers like “Pour It Up” and “Birthday Cake” and in her single “BBHM” she boasts about buying “Louis XIII de Rémy Martin,” a Cognac produced by Rémy Martin.
Rihanna sings, “Louis 13 and it’s all on me/N—a you just bought a shot/Kamikaze if you think that you gon’ knock me off the top!” One bottle of Louis XIII can range from $2,100-$3,100. Rihanna could buy 40,000 bottles a night and still have more money!
12. Has More Than 20 Tattoos
Rihanna has a total of 22 tattoos and counting. Many people get tattoos to present or express themselves artistically. Rihanna takes her tattoos very seriously, and who wouldn’t? They are, more than not, usually permanent. Rihanna goes to a tattoo artist in New York City and he is trusted by several other celebs like Adele, Justin Bieber and famous rappers.
“I like hanging out in tattoo shops” Rihanna has said. “I am so intrigued by tattoos. It’s an entire culture, and I study it. Sometimes I go with friends, or just by myself. I get bum-rushed, but I don’t care. I don’t take security.”
Rihanna has several tattoos including tribal prints, stars down her back, an Egyptian goddess on her chest, Henna patterns, a scorpion sign and more. She additionally has the birthday of her manager and best friend Melissa Forde in Roman numerals, her birthday year “1988” on her ankle, and a script which reads “Never A Failure, Always A Less” tatted backwards on her shoulder.
11. Her Father Has A Cocaine Addiction
Rihanna’s early years were very tumultuous. Her father was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine throughout her childhood and caused himself and the family emotional destruction. Ronald Fenty has said “I will never forgive myself for what I did to her. When she was still a baby she watched as I fed my dirty drug habit.”
“I will always have nightmares as I think of her crying begging me to stop,” he recalled. Rihanna, mysteriously, or maybe not so mysteriously to some, seems to have completely forgiven her father and loves him even stronger despite the conflicts.
Ronald said, “she rings me all the time and tells me she loves me. That’s reward enough for me.”
As a girl Rihanna promised to give her father her very first Grammy award as a gift of love. Although, when presented with her first award years later by her mentor Jay-Z, while beaming at her Grammy, she also jokingly mentioned the whole ordeal in her acceptance speech- saying it would be a very difficult promise to fulfill.
10. Chris Brown Is The Love Of Her Life
Rihanna’s relationship with Chris Brown was highly publicized back in 2009 when a discussion between the then couple escalated into a domestic violence dispute. Since then the relationship has reconciled musically and affectionately, but also had its highs and lows.
During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna confessed her true feelings about Chris Brown. “I have forgiven him,” she said, though she admitted “I was angry for a long time.” Chris was “the love of my life,” the singer told Winfrey, as she started tear up. “I think he was the love of my life,” she said. “He was my first love.”
“It was a weird, confusing space to be in,” Rihanna also told Oprah. “Because as angry as I was, as angry and hurt and betrayed, I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help and who’s going to help him? Nobody’s going to say he needs help. Everybody’s going to say he’s a monster without looking at the source, and I was more concerned about him.”
9. Hit Younger Brother In Face With Glass Bottle
Siblings fight all the time and sometimes things can get a little out of hand. Thankfully, many of those incidents won’t be brought up the next day. However, when you’re famous your past becomes public knowledge.
In Rihanna’s case, this definitely gives one a cause to pause. Rihanna is the oldest of three children, with two younger brothers. She reportedly hit the oldest brother in the face with a glass bottle. Reports claim that her mother was enraged.
Rihanna told Complex, “I’m the oldest child with two brothers. We talk all the time now, but we used to fight—and when I say ‘fight’ I don’t mean arguments, I mean physically fight… I hit the older one in his face with a glass bottle… yeah, my mom was pretty upset.”
8. Witnessed An Exorcism
Many people have heard of the film “The Exorcist” though not all may know what an exorcism truly is. An exorcism is the expulsion or attempted expulsion of an evil spirit from a person or place. When Rihanna was a small child she witnessed an exorcism.
According to the 28-year-old singer, as a child in Barbados exorcisms were not rare but common occurrences that took place within the community. “I used to go to church and sometimes it would happen,” she explained. “In the middle of the ceremony somebody would get up screaming and spinning out of control and everybody would rush to [them] and pray.”
Things got even more weird, as Rihanna went on to detail an exorcism that took place at a house that she was in. “They were praying around this table, we were young though, and one of the girls, she got up and she just started screaming. I remember they locked us in the bedroom because they didn’t want kids to see that. Every time they prayed she would start screaming in the weirdest voice. It’s funny now but at the time I was like s—ing myself!”
7. Drake And Rihanna Are Friends With Benefits
Rihanna and Drake are both multi-platinum selling artists. They’ve also created hit songs together such as “What’s My Name?” and “Work.” Mysteriously enough, the two have been romantically linked on and off since 2009, but have never been “official” for a credible period of time. Nevertheless, Drake confessed to Ellen DeGeneres that they indeed have shared passionate moments together.
Moreover, there was a love triangle fallout between Rihanna’s two main dudes when Drake and Chris Brown had an infamous club fiasco between them. TMZ reported that both Chris and Drake had their entourages sitting in the VIP section when they started yelling at each other. Eventually, reports claim that the yelling escalated into shoving, and then a fist fight where a bottle was thrown.
Drake once shared his thoughts about Chris and his relations with Rihanna saying, “His insecurities are the fact that I make better music than him, that I’m more popping than him and that at one point in life the woman [Rihanna] that he loves fell into my lap.” Drake continued, “I did what a real [man] would do and treated her with respect.” The pair have reportedly rekindled their old flame.
6. Wasn’t Impressed With First Hit “Pon De Replay”
As an artist you never know which projects your audience will connect to or bond with the most profoundly. Sometimes, when you’re not expecting it, success can be mysterious and surprising when what you think is your worst or least favorite work is praised by the masses.
Rihanna’s first two studio albums Music of The Sun and A Girl Like Me charted ton the top 10 of the U.S Billboard 200 and successfully produced a single called “Pon de Replay”. This song is to many their favorite song recorded by Rihanna. It definitely is one of her most loved songs to date, selling over 2 million copies worldwide.
However, Rihanna says that the song is far from her favorite to listen to. Rihanna initially didn’t like this tune. “When I first heard that song, I didn’t want to do it, because it was very sing-songy and very – whatever. Nursery-rhymish,” she told reporters. “But after I started recording it, I went along with it and started liking it.”
5. Besties With Katy Perry
Rihanna and Katy Perry have been friends for years. Rihanna said that the two became “fast friends” and have always both been really open about their friendship together. The pop star has referred to Katy as her best friend in song lyrics. Rihanna threw Katy a bachelorette party prior to her short-lived marriage to comedian Russell Brand. Katy also asked Rihanna to be her maid of honor, though Rihanna had to decline due to recording and travel constraints.
However, things began to drastically shift for the friends when Katy requested to be seated far away from Rihanna at the 2013 Grammy Awards, according to a HollywoodLife source.
The pair had reportedly gone their separate ways after a few disputes and petty beefs, but the singers have since put an end to their alleged conflicts. The two pop stars appeared to be celebrating their reunion at a mutual friend’s birthday party at NYC’s 1Oak nightclub and at various hot spots around the world.
4. First Female From Barbados to Receive A Grammy
Becoming a pioneer, someone who breaks down a barrier and impacts humanity for the better, is a pretty remarkable thing. When Rihanna won her first Grammy she made history. In winning the Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration category with the international hit “Umbrella” Rihanna became the first female from Barbados to receive a Grammy.
Not only that, but Rihanna has also been selected to receive a “Black Girls Rock” award. Activist and model Bethann Hardison helped close out the show by giving the Rock Star Award to Rihanna, who had a special message to share with the crowd in attendance.
“Thank you so much for celebrating us in a world that doesn’t celebrate us enough,” Rihanna told the packed house. “The minute you learn to love yourself, you will not want to be anybody else!”
3. Supports The Legalization of Marijuana
Rihanna is arguably the most notable female marijuana user and supporter. Cannabis supporters claim that the medicinal plant can ease stress and even lead to medical innovations. People opposed to the legalization of medical marijuana argue that it is too risky to use, lacks FDA approval, and they even argue that there are legal drugs that make the use of marijuana for medical reasons unnecessary.
Artists and entertainers are often the most outspoken supporters of legalization, but now many writers and even spiritual figures are active in spreading the cannabis word. While Rihanna has never been one to be very political other than the occasional “My president is black” she may be unconsciously involved in advocating for the legalization of cannabis.
Her incredible influence is more than enough to spread the word. Rihanna has an Instagram with over 36 million followers. She is known for posting Instagram photos of giant joints under the hashtag “#legalizeit.”
2. Had Beef With A$AP Rocky
When rapper A$AP Rocky released his debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP everyone took notice. Rocky’s raw talent and creative sound caught the attention of many people in the music industry including Rihanna. Rihanna not only invited Rocky to be her opening act for her “Diamonds” tour, but Rocky greeted her while on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
On his sophomore release entitled “At Long Last ASAP” Rocky rapped, “Ain’t nothing better than the pretty big forehead b*tch/Cinderella’s under my umbrella for different weather/Ella, ella, ay just play it like I didn’t tell ya.” Rocky responded that there are a lot of pretty girls with big foreheads and he could have been talking about anyone. But the “Umbrella” lyrics kind of make you think otherwise.
Some speculate that Rihanna has since responded, expressing her opinions in song. In “Needed Me,” Rihanna sings, “Used to trip off that sh*t I was kickin’ to you/Had some fun on the run though I give it to you/But baby, don’t get it twisted/You was just another [guy] on the hit list/Tryna fix your inner issues with a bad b*tch/Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage/F*ck your white horse in a carriage/Bet you never could imagine/Never told you you could have it/You needed me…”
1. Most Marketable Celebrity In The World
According to the latest “NPD” reports, Rihanna is the most marketable celebrity for brand endorsements. She beat out Angelina Jolie and Tim McGraw. And Rihanna’s reign is not going to let up anytime soon.
“Rihanna’s index score of 367 means that she has almost 3.7 times as many strong brand endorsement opportunities as the average big-name celebrity,” the NPD report explains.
Essence.com reported that Rihanna helped Puma make almost a billion dollars in merchandise last quarter. Rihanna has worked with many companies such as Puma and Jeep. She inked a multi-million dollar deal with Samsung that helped promote her highly anticipated album, Anti.
“We can now prove what has been suspected when making expensive sponsorship decisions—that celebrities are media properties in their own right, with audiences that have nuanced brand preferences. In the same way that every sitcom is not equally valuable to a particular brand, neither is every celebrity equally valuable to a particular brand,” Barbara Zack, the vice president of NPD Group, said.