02/18/2009 at 02:00 PM EST
Members of Rihanna
's family in her native Barbados thought boyfriend Chris Brown
"flew so far under everyone's radar that we just didn't think he was that [abusive] type," a relative tells PEOPLE for its new cover story, on sale Friday.
Brown was arrested Feb. 8
for allegedly assaulting Rihanna in Los Angeles. He has issued a statement of apology
, saying he would seek therapy, and he may face charges
from the district attorney.
The turn of events comes as a shock to the family. "He was always looking after her needs," says the relative, "making sure she was happy."
Rihanna, who turns 21 on Friday, and Brown, 19, were a "perfect match," an MTV veejay tells PEOPLE. Now their future together is unknown.
But as far as her father, Ronald Fenty, is concerned, when it comes to Brown, his daughter should "move on." A relative agrees: "I don't want her to go back to him. I don't think anyone does."
For more on Rihanna and Chris's relationship, including tales of arguments, jealousy and hotel-trashing, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday