"I couldn't have been the woman I am, the friend, or the sister or the artist, or the role model I am today if I didn't go through what I went through," the singer, 22, tells then British Marie Claire for its December issue.
After the violent incident back in February 2009 that left her with physical injuries and her then-boyfriend Brown, now 21, charged with assault, Rihanna recalls: "I felt like an empty vessel."
Speaking through tears, she adds, "It's scary, you just lose touch of everything that you love and everything that you would normally do; how you would dress or how you would say something."
On whether she resented the details of that fateful evening becoming public knowledge, she shakes her head.
"No. I needed that wake-up call in my life. That was the only way I would have gotten out of that relationship, " she says. It then took a while for the fun-loving singer to get back to her happy self, but eventually she did.
"I remember waking up one day and I knew I was over it," she says. "I didn't feel lonely. I felt like I wanted to get up and be in the world – that was a great, great feeling."
Turning Her Life AroundSounding and feeling positive, she says: "Once you're back on your feet … if you ever make it back on your feet, that's the ultimate achievement."
Now in a happy relationship with Matt Kemp, 26, of the L.A Dodgers, Rihanna has wounds that might be healed – but is she in love?
"Yes," she admits, with a smile. "He's just easy and really kind."
Currently putting the finishing touches on her third record Loudand filming her first feature film Battleships – Rihanna says there's no hiding her new happy self.
"I feel like ... I smile for real this time. When I smile, [people] can tell that it's pure bliss and not just a cover up."