12/20/2012 09:32 am ET

Oprah Winfrey On Rihanna: Talk-Show Queen Says Singer Was Most Surprising Interview Of The Year

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" may be long gone, but that hasn't stopped the legendary talk-show host from snagging her fair share of top-shelf interview subjects. Winfrey recently revealed to The Hollywood Reporter her most interesting or surprising interview of the year. It's also the one that nabbed her some of "Oprah's Next Chapter's" highest ratings: Rihanna.

Despite gab sessions with the likes of Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, Justin Bieber and Whitney Houston's family, Winfrey said the Rihanna sit-down "surprised" her the most.

"[Rihanna] brought 1,000 percent of her," Winfrey told THR. "You could tell that she came ready. She was open to anything. But I don’t do an interview if someone tells me I can’t ask a certain question. My policy is, I can ask any question; you can tell me you won’t answer it, but you have to tell me that on camera. I really didn’t know that much about her. I just thought she was so thoughtful and so smart. I didn’t know that she was or wasn’t; I only knew her from her music."

During her conversation with Winfrey, Rihanna broke down in tears while discussing her tumultuous relationship with singer Chris Brown, who assaulted her in 2009. Rihanna revealed during the interview that she has since forgiven Brown, saying they are "still close" and "will always love each other."

"Who's going to help him? Nobody's going to say that he needs help," Rihanna said. "Everybody's going to say that he's a monster, without looking at the source."

The singer has since prompted rumors that perhaps the two are back together, which includes tweeting a photo of a shirtless Brown lying facedown in an unmade bed.

Winfrey and Rihanna also discussed Esquire magazine dubbing the singer the "sexiest woman alive."

Rihanna's Aug. 19 episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" racked up 2.5 million viewers, whereas the series normally sees somewhere between 400,000 and 700,000 viewers. The only episode to top Rihanna's ratings was March 11's candid interview with the Houston family, which aired just one month after the "I Will Always Love You" singer's death and collected 3.5 million viewers.

The Oprah Winfrey Network struggled to find its footing upon its inception in early 2011 but has since collected steam. Winfrey told THR the network still has a ways to go but that the progress feels like "a sign of relief and gratitude."



Rihanna Photos