Chris Brown Tells PEOPLE: 'I Still Love Rihanna'
08/31/2009 AT 11:30 AM EDT
Since then, Brown, 20, has pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced last week to five years' probation.
And now, he is ready to speak: On Aug. 26, the musician sat down with PEOPLE for his first interview and – as his mother Joyce Hawkins, a victim of domestic abuse herself, sat nearby – opened up about his shame over that "terrible" night, his enduring love for Rihanna and why he swears he'll never hit a woman again.
Among Brown's revelations:
He still loves Rihanna: "I never fell out of love with her. That just wouldn't go away."
How he felt right after the assault: "I was distraught … I went to my mom on the same night and told [her] what happened and broke down."
Why he's different from his stepfather, who he says regularly abused his mother: "I feel like he enjoyed it. He was an abuser. It was continuous."
For the full interview with Brown and his mother – who calls hearing her son's confession on the night of the assault 'the most painful moment of my life' – pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday