Eminem and Rihanna's 'Love the Way You Lie' Dropped 5 Years Ago: 10 Things You May Not Know

Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie" Dropped Five Years Ago
Rihanna and Eminem
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

08/11/2015 AT 05:45 PM EDT

Five years ago this week, Eminem and Rihanna's collaboration "Love the Way You Lie" proved to be a smash success but also stirred up controversy about the issue of domestic violence – as expressed in the lyrics, in the video and in the lives of the two singers who performed the song.


We're taking a look back at "Love the Way You Lie" – what people were saying about it five years ago and how the song has fared since.

1. It's Eminem's best-selling song so far.


The track occupied the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, from July 31 until Sept. 18, 2010. In 2013, Billboard itself ranked it Eminem's second-biggest song, behind only "Lose Yourself."

2. Rihanna was Eminem's first and only choice to sing the hook.

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In an interview with Rap-Up.com, Eminem said he didn't even consider any other singer. "It's one of those tracks that I felt like only she could pull it off," he said.



3. And Rihanna said yes because she found the song meaningful.


Speaking to Access Hollywood before the release of "Love the Way You Lie," Rihanna said the track spoke to her on a profound level. "It's something that we've both experienced, you know, on different sides, different ends of the table," the singer said, referring to the song's themes of domestic strife.

"He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence, and it's something that people don't have a lot of insight on," she said. "The lyrics were so deep, so beautiful and intense. It's something that I understood, something I connected with."

Rihanna's Changing Looks


4. The video's director, however, says the clip isn't supposed to be biographical.

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When the video for "Love the Way You Lie" premiered, a hot topic of conversation was that its story – about an abusive, toxic relationship between characters played by Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan – was meant to reflect real-life abuse and strife experienced by Eminem and Rihanna. Speaking to MTV News, however, director Joseph Kahn said that wasn't the case.

"There are definitely things in both Rihanna and Eminem's [lives] that we [had] to be very sensitive about when we were making this video, [but] it's not a story about Eminem or Rihanna," Kahn said. "It's a specific thing that I created for Dominic and Megan to play two people with very specific story lines to each other. These are fictional characters in my head, but obviously based on real human beings."

5. And Kahn said Fox's performance was key to the video's success.


In an interview with Vibe, Kahn said Fox brought a certain gravity to the video. "Megan was the key to this video," Kahn said. "The reason why their scenes in the video feel so real is because, in the moment, they were real. When the camera stopped you could see their bodies still shivering and their breath."

"The scene where Dom smashes through the wall, Megan keeps her face there and reacts to the camera, instead of turning away from his fist, which would be the natural reaction but the audience would get denied her facial expressions. It was an incredible act of vulnerability and allowed the audience into the moment. That's the difference between an actress and a movie star."

6. Fox, meanwhile, donated her earnings from the shoot to a domestic violence charity.


Access Hollywood reported that Fox gave the money to Sojourn House, which offers shelter and other services for those trying to escape domestic violence.

7. Critics were divided, but not on the technical merits of the song.


While most agreed the song was well-written and expertly executed, not everyone agreed that the message of the song was appropriate. Randy Susan Meyers, who blogs about women's issues for the Huffington Post, wrote that the lyrics "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn / That's all right, because I like the way it hurts" were especially problematic. And The Atlantic claimed that blaming himself for a failed relationship didn't exonerate Eminem from rapping about violence against women in the past.

Stephanie Nilva, executive director of sexual assault resource center Day One, told MTV News that the video was valuable because it was making viewers confront the complex nature of abusive relationships. "The most important thing the video is doing is raising the topic of dating violence among young people," Nilva said.

8. Rihanna later sang a sequel to the song.


Although not explicitly in response to the criticisms of the song, Rihanna's album Loud, released Nov. 12, 2010, included "Love the Way You Lie, Part II," which she said told the events of the first song from a different perspective. Eminem's vocals only appear in one verse.

9. The song's original demo was meant as commentary on a completely different sort of abuse.


Skylar Grey wrote the song's lyrics and originally sang it on a demo track. To her, the song was about an abusive relationship, but not between two people. At the time, Grey felt she was in an abusive relationship with the music industry itself: "I love it so much, and I give it all that I have, yet it beats me down," she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.

10. Controversy aside, the video broke YouTube records.


On the day of the video's release, it broke a YouTube record for the most views in a single day: 6.6 million. Five years later, "Love the Way You Lie" is still the 11th-most-watched video in the history of YouTube.
MORE ON: Megan Fox , Rihanna
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