The FENTY Beauty creator reveals how her relationship with A$AP Rocky went from friendship to pending parenthood.
Rihanna chose the most fabulous plus one to join her on Vogue's May cover: her unborn child. As the 34-year-old singer bares her growing baby bump for the magazine, she opens up about her friends-to-lovers romance with rapper A$AP Rocky, becoming a mother on her own terms and why she's determined to redefine what people view as "pregnancy style."
The FENTY Beauty founder admits that her romantic relationship with Rocky was slow-going at first because "people don’t get out of the friend zone very easily with me."
"And I certainly took a while to get over how much I know him and how much he knows me because we also know how much trouble we can land each other in," she tells Vogue, revealing that a moment during their first encounter at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012 was a prime example of what kind of trouble they get into. The singer recalls when Rocky joined her for the performance of her hit single, "Cockiness," and grabbed her butt as they were dancing side by side.
"That was not part of the rehearsal! I was like, 'What are you doing!?'" she says, admitting that her team was braced to deal with her anger after the incident but instead, she let it go. "My manager was like, 'Oh, God, she must like this guy a little bit. She never lets this s**t slide.'"
The singer says that although the two had begun dating before COVID-19 struck, it was only during the pandemic's lockdown that they became truly serious.
"He became my family in that time," she shares, describing an "epic road trip" they took in the summer of 2020 from Los Angeles to New York. The journey allowed the couple to get away from the glare of public eyes and gave them an intimacy that only comes from domestication.
"I cooked our food on this little janky grill I bought from Walmart," she remembers. "I still have it, too. It works like nobody’s business. I love the simple things but also the grand adventures. There’s no pretentious my-brand-your-brand bulls**t, it’s just us living. I just feel like I can do any part of life by his side."
Her pregnancy is a result of the two "just living," as the singer reveals that there was no planning involved. "I wouldn’t say planning. But certainly not planning against it. I don’t know when I ovulate or any of that type of sh*t. We just had fun," she explains. "And then it was just there on the test. I didn’t waste any time. I called him inside and showed him. Then I was in the doctor’s office the next morning and our journey began."
And now that they're on the journey together, Rihanna is relishing this time to embark on motherhood on her own terms, regardless of what her critics may say about it. The singer announced she is expecting her first child in January and since then, she's had her baby bump on display and putting her own twist on maternity styles during date nights, fashion shows and even trips to the Target baby department.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, 'There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in no maternity aisle.' I’m sorry—it’s too much fun to get dressed up," she admits. "I’m not going to let that part disappear because my body is changing."
It's a philosophy that's rubbed a small facet of people the wrong way with each bump-revealing look Rihanna pulls out of her closet. But she's determined to change that view.
"I'm hoping that we were able to redefine what's considered 'decent' for pregnant women. My body is doing incredible things right now, and I’m not going to be ashamed of that," she says. "This time should feel celebratory. Because why should you be hiding your pregnancy?"
It's only a small instance of how Rihanna is handling pregnancy on her own terms, but it's a definite sign of how the Barbados-born singer will tackle motherhood as well. While there's no question it'll be a challenge juggling multiple businesses and a growing family, and Rihanna openly admits that balance has always been one of her biggest challenges, the mogul is ready to tackle whatever comes her way with a singular focus.
"My mom handled the three of us with not even close to the amount of resources that I have, so I can absolutely do it. What it looks like? I’m not sure," she admits. But she's excited to embark on the journey!
"They're going to teach me more than I could ever teach them. And I want them to go for it. I want to see who they are in the world, who they become," she says of her unborn child. "Because I’m just here to keep them on the rails—a passenger as much as the driver."
And, of course, it wouldn't be a conversation with Rihanna without talking about her ever-pending ninth album. Fans will have to wait a little longer for the highly-anticipated project to drop, but the singer promises it's worth it.
"I’m looking at my next project completely differently from the way I had wanted to put it out before. I think this way suits me better, a lot better," she says. "It’s authentic, it’ll be fun for me, and it takes a lot of the pressure off."
Read Rihanna's full interview at Vogue.