Over the past five years, Rihanna has dominated the music charts and become one of the most reliable pop hitmakers. She's also courted controversy (see below) with her style choices and personal life.
As the 23-year-old superstar from Barbados brings her fourth headlining tour, "Loud," to the United Center at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (tickets: $19.75-$250 at Ticketmaster), she may be the only female singer to rival Lady Gaga in spectacle on stage.
And she has more than twice as many hits as Gaga—37 gold and platinum certifications to Gaga's 15, according to the Baltimore Sun—many of which concert-goers will get to watch her perform.
She hasn't done many interviews, but when she performed on "The Today Show" in late May, Rihanna said a lot had changed in the three years since she first appeared on the show.
"I definitely am a very busy woman. But I love it. I kind of get bored when I’m not working. So I can’t complain," she said. "There's a lot of life experiences, a lot of great things that have happened since I was 20 years old, definitely."
“People are going to always talk whether you’re doing bad or good, so you just have to do with you,” she said.
UP & DOWN RIHANNA
Rihanna’s latest album may be titled “Loud,” but it’s not the first time the singer’s antics have broken the decibel meter. RedEye took a look at some of Ri-Ri’s most shocking moments ahead of her visit to the Chi-Chi. (Yes, we’re calling it that now.)
Lil’ Rihanna was all sweet and innocent looking until one day in late 2007 when—BLAM!—she lopped off her locks into an enviably-edgy festival of choppy wonderment, perhaps to coincide with her “Good Girl Gone Bad” album. The world would never be the same.
Chris Brown (2009)
Everyone remembers this one: Ex-boyfriend Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault after beating Rihanna. We even hate thinking about this one‹and the fact that we still enjoy Brown’s “Forever.’
“Battleship” movie (September 2010)
Ri-Ri was spotted filming scenes for the board game-based flick alongside “Friday Night Lights” star Taylor Kitsch. Seriously, THIS is what you pick for your first movie? We’re only going to be happy if her lines include “battleship sunk!”
The singers engaged in some online hair-pulling via Twitter after Ciara dissed Rihanna on Joan Rivers’ show. In typical minidiva fashion, they made up online quickly after, but we’d watch out if we were Ciara.
Rolling Stone booty cover (April)
Helloooo, bootygate! Rihanna graced the cover of rock’s most famous mag wearing little more than a pair of spray-painted shorts. The stylist told Rolling Stone he was going for “what if Kid Rock and Rihanna had a baby.” OK, true, that’d be one messed-up kid.
Chris Brown Twitter reunion (May)
Cue head-shaking. Brown started following Ri-Ri on Twitter, and she, for some insane reason, started following him back, telling off fans who questioned her decision.
“Man Down” video (early June)
Rihanna finally seemed to find a channel for her anger in her latest video, in which the character she plays kills a man who raped her. Major backlash has ensued from a variety of groups, but actress Gabrielle Union applauded Ri-Ri’s message, saying she’d once tried to shoot a man who raped her.
Twitter talk (June 11)
Rihanna took her critics to task on Twitter, writing “Man Down is the most viewed video on YouTube this week! Special thx to PTC and #RihannaNavy.” Later in the day she wrote, “RiRiLovers+RiriHaters ... u all made this a success!!! And I truly thank u!” You tell ’em, girl