The complicated relationship of Drake and Rihanna

As Drake tried to kiss Rihanna after handing her the Video Vanguard Award on Sunday, it looked like she leaned back and he planted his lips on her cheek.
As Drake tried to kiss Rihanna after handing her the Video Vanguard Award on Sunday, it looked like she leaned back and he planted his lips on her cheek.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Are Drake and Rihanna together?

It is unclear. The relationship status between the two pop powerhouses remains a bit of a mystery, even though he professed his love for her at MTV's Video Music Awards on Sunday night.

The rapper, 29, presented the singer with the Video Vanguard Award, showing up in a tuxedo after he was absent to receive his own award.

He said they met in 2005.

"She was shooting a music video at a restaurant called Avocado in Toronto. The song was Pon De Replay and the director of the video was Little X. I was introduced to her as a kid who played background music at the restaurant as people ate their dinner. It's hard to believe that 11 years later, all three of us would come together to create the visual for a song called Work."

In 2009, singer Chris Brown was charged with assaulting his then- girlfriend Rihanna. About this time, she asked Drake to write her a song, which was never released, but they began seeing each other regularly, according to The New York Times.

"I was a pawn," he told the Times in 2010 upon his debut album release.

"You know what she was doing to me? 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."

Weeks later, he tried to clarify what he had said, telling MTV News that "in no way was it negative".

Among his songs then was Fireworks, which addresses his rendezvous with Rihanna and rumours that she felt he had used her for publicity.

On Sunday, he said: "She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old."

He handed Rihanna, 28, her award and went in for a kiss. It looked like she leaned back and he planted his lips right on her cheek. It was awkward.

It was not until the end of her acceptance speech that Rihanna remarked: "Thank you, Drake, for that amazing speech."

After the Video Music Awards, he posted a very couple-looking photo of them on his Instagram.

Let the speculation continue.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'The complicated relationship of Drake and Rihanna'. Print Edition | Subscribe