Rihanna: 25 Crazy, Most Controversial Moments Ever

Ooh na na, what's her biggest scandal?
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rihanna crazy moments

Content warning: This article contains mature themes.

From serving fiery looks to sharing scandalous selfies, Rihanna has been stirring the pot for over a decade.

She’s gone from an innocent pop princess to a successful businesswoman — but she’s also had her fair share of crazy moments and shocking scandals that we most definitely will be telling our grandkids about one day.

She found love in a hopeless place, smoked at any given chance, and uh, stripped off at any given moment. Bad Gal RiRi isn’t shy of showing off her wild side, folks. So wild, you couldn’t forget about if you tried.

So, to remind you of every savage thing this celebrity has done, we’ve headed down memory lane to present to you Rihanna’s craziest and most controversial moments.

Every Time Rihanna Sparked Controversy

1. Rihanna Releases ‘Love the Way You Lie’

Rihanna was labelled a hypocrite and accused of “glamourizing violence” when she collaborated on Eminem’s hit track, Love the Way You Lie. 

The video portrays a couple fighting then passionately making up, as well as lyrics including, “I like the way it hurts.”

After being a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Chris Brown, fans thought it was scandalous of Rihanna to participate in such a song.

2. Rihanna Shares Herself Smoking Weed

If there’s one known fact about Rihanna, it’s her love for marijuana. The hitmaker hasn’t shied away from posting several snaps of herself smoking weed on Instagram, and often shows her support for 4/20: the international celebration for weed.

There isn’t one moment to pinpoint here, but here’s a particular snap that got the people talking!

rihanna smoking weed
mdollas11 | Instagram

3. Rihanna’s ‘S&M’ Video Gets Banned

This was one of the first of Rihanna’s many controversial moments.

With lyrics like “Sex in the air/ I don’t care/ I love the smell of it/ Sticks and stones may break my bones/ But chains and whips excite me” — and visuals of Rihanna dancing in latex, whipping people and getting tied up — there’s no surprise why her S&M video was banned in 11 countries and radios refused to play the track before 7 p.m. 

Rihanna’s music videos are not for the faint-hearted, we’ll tell you that much!

4. Rihanna Feuds With Ciara

This celebrity feud began when Ciara told Joan Rivers on Fashion Police that Rihanna “wasn’t the nicest” after running into her at a party. The two singers then had an ongoing spat on Twitter, both knocking each other down, before appearing to make up.

Rihanna apologized to Ciara by tweeting, “Ciara baby, I love u girl! U hurt my feelings real bad on TV! I’m heartbroken! That’s y I retaliated this way! So sorry! #letsmakeup.”

Ciara wished Rihanna a happy birthday on Twitter in 2018 and the Work singer also sang Ciara’s song Goodies during a karaoke session, proving that there were no hard feelings.

rihanna feuds with ciara on twitter
Twitter

5. Rihanna Disses Karrueche

This particular controversial moment didn’t go down too well for Rihanna. Although she didn’t mention any names, the message was clear when RiRi posted a picture of a pack of rice cakes with hoop earrings and shades, accompanied with the caption, “Imma make you my b**ch.”

This racist outburst was assumed to be a jab directed at her former love, Chris Brown’s girlfriend at the time, Karrueche Tran, who is Vietnamese.

rihanna disses karrueche tran with rice cakes photo
badgalriri | Instagram

6. Rihanna is Accused of Doing Coke

Most celebs let their hair down at Coachella Festival, but Rihanna took it to a whole ‘nother level in 2012 when she was captured doing what appeared to be cocaine on her bodyguard’s head.

As you’d imagine, the photo triggered an outrage, but RiRi was quick to shut down the rumors in response to MTVUK‘s covering of the story, tweeting: “@MTVUK= Pathetic C*NTZ.”

Turns out, she was preparing a blunt.

rihanna doing cocaine at coachella
badgalriri | Instagram

7. Rihanna Causes Drake and Chris Brown Fight

The most scandalous love triangle in pop history! Whether you shipped Rihanna + Chris or Rihanna + Drake, it’s safe to say both relationships were a hot mess. So messy, it landed in a fist fight.

Although RiRi didn’t actively provoke the beef between the two artists, Drake and Chris Brown ended up in a brawl over their relationships with the Diamonds singer.

During a night out in 2012, Chris Brown sent a bottle of champagne over to Drake’s table, but the rapper sent it back with a note that read, “I’m f*cking the love of your life, deal with it.”

This obviously didn’t go down well and the stars ended up in a physical alteration, which left Brown with a cut chin. Thankfully, Drake’s beef with Breezy is now over and the two successful male artists have reconciled.

drake and chris brown
champagnepapi | Instagram

8. Rihanna Says She “Still Loves” Chris Brown

Rihanna’s relationships have been front and center, but one boyfriend that put her love life in the public eye was Chris Brown.

RiRi’s world fell apart when she got into a brawl with Brown in 2009, which resulted in a physical assault. Even though she was battered and bruised, Rihanna later revealed that she’d “forgiven” the singer.

The interview with Oprah Winfrey saw RiRi break down as she openly shared her feelings about her troublesome relationship with Chris. “It’s awkward because I still love him,” she said. Considering all that she’d been though, Rihanna’s confession riled up fans.

9. Rihanna Feuds With Joan Rivers

When Rihanna spoke to Oprah about her relationship with Chris Brown, one woman who wasn’t afraid to express her disappointment was Joan Rivers.

“Rihanna confessed to Oprah Winfrey that she still loves Chris Brown. Idiot! Now it’s MY turn to slap her,” the Fashion Police alum tweeted.

RiRi rightfully retaliated with a savage reply: “@Joan_Rivers wow u really do get slow when you’re old huh?”

10. Rihanna Gives Chris Brown a Second Chance

After years apart, the controversial celebrities’ undeniable love for each other brought them back together, with Rihanna saying, “He made a mistake, and he’s paid his dues.”

But the pressure was too much and the famous couple called it quits. Still, Rihanna and Chris’ reconciliation shocked everyone, leading fans to dub her as “weak” and “crazy.”

EXTRA READING:
Chris Brown’s Controversial Moments

rihanna chris brown back together
badgalriri | Instagram

11. Rihanna Poses with a Slow Loris

In what was one of Rihanna’s most controversial moments, she shared a seemingly innocent photo of herself cuddling up to a slow loris. What’s the problem with that, you might ask?

Much to RiRi’s ignorance, the adorable furry animal is an endangered species — and so this scandalous photo ended up getting the two Thai guys who owned the animal arrested. 

This brings us to Rihanna’s next scandal…It seems she has a thing for accidently imprisoning criminals…

Rihanna poses with a slow loris
badgalriri | Instagram

12. Rihanna Gets Strip Club Owner Arrested

Once upon a time in the early twenty-tens, Rihanna would regularly and (unashamedly) visit strip clubs. She’d proudly boast about it on socials and would even share a few snaps, too. The one time she visited a pretty wild one in Thailand, she actually helped solve a crime (unknowingly).

RiRi visited Season-A-Go-Go bar in Phuket, and tweeted about her crazy experience on Twitter the next day: “Either I was phuck wasted lastnight, or I saw a Thai woman pull a live bird,2 turtles,razors,shoot darts and ping pong, all out of her p*$$y.” Casual.

Well, turns out, the bar was unlicensed, and after reading Rihanna’s tweets, authorities got involved and landed the Phuket bar owner in jail.

rihanna at a strip club
badgalriri | Instagram

13. Rihanna Gets Kicked Out of a Mosque

Anything for the ‘Gram, right?

When Rihanna found the perfect backdrop to take photos in Abu Dhabi, she thought she’d seize the moment. But the authorities at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque got offended by the star for taking such “inappropriate pictures.”

Rihanna was asked to leave and was prohibited from entering the mosque itself “after she posed in ways that do not match the sacred status” of the complex” [statement via Buzzfeed News].

rihanna poses outside abu dhabi mosque
badgalriri | Instagram

14. Rihanna Gets Banned from Instagram

Whether you follow her or not, Rihanna is notoriously famous for her baring it all. I mean, you’ve gotta appreciate the confidence!

But in the Anti star took it too far and even got banned from Instagram for posting topless and bottomless photos that were shot for French magazine Lui.

In true savage style, the popstar didn’t drop it and took to Twitter to have a jab at Instagram officials by (brilliantly) posting this:

rihanna mocks instagram
badgalriri | Instagram

15. Rihanna Wears Her Famous See-Through Dress

Following the events on social media, Rihanna had a big statement to make, so to empower female sexuality, she rocked up to the 2014 CFDA Awards wearing a sparkling see-through number.

In what is one of the most iconic moments in pop culture history, not only was Rihanna one of the few women to pull off a sheer dress so effortlessly, but she also won the award for “Fashion Icon” that year.

Controversial or not, RiRi made her mark on the fashion world from that day on.

16. Rhianna Causes Controversy with ‘BBHMM’ Video

Just when things seemed awfully quiet in the world of Rihanna, she decided to cause a stir with her shocking music video for Bit*h Better Have My Money.

With scenes of torturing and murdering a guy, and even after critics claimed it “misogynistic,” the nudity, drugs and bad language worked in her favor, as the video gained over 160 million views.

17. Rihanna’s Rumored Affair with Jay Z is ‘Fake News’

For those who haven’t a clue, Jay-Z discovered Rihanna when she was merely 16, and then signed her on the same night of their first meeting. But during her early years of fame, the admiration between them was blown out of proportion.

Despite Jay dating Beyoncé at the time, fans speculated that he and Rihanna were more than just friends, and that he’d cheated on his Beyoncé with her.

Come 2015 and it turns out the gossip was made up by Rihanna’s former publicist, Jonathan Hay, who admitted he leaked the fake news “out of desperation to help break” Rih’s debut single.

18. Rihanna Friend-Zones Drake

Rihanna + Drake: what a time to be alive, right?

When the beauty mogul swerved a kiss from on-and-off beau, Drake, we thought she was out of her mind. Like, you’ve gotta be crazy to friend-zone Drake, right?

SEE ALSO:
Drake’s List of Girlfriends Over the Years

To remind you of this iconic moment, it was just after Drake had confessed his love for the popstar during his speech at the MTV VMAs in 2016. After presenting Rihanna with the Video Vanguard Award, he went in for a kiss and she gave him the cheek.

The pair were never to be spotted together again.

19. Rihanna Wears a Fur Heart-Shaped Cape

Rihanna’s outfit choices often make front-page press for all the right reasons, but when she threw on a heart-shaped fur cape in 2012, fashion critics were outraged.

Even though Rihanna landed herself in controversy for wearing fox fur, other celebs seemed to love it, with fashion model, Kendall Jenner following suit and investing in her very own Yves Saint Laurent coat.

rihanna wears a fox heart cape
Snapchat

20. Rihanna Uses Islamic Verses at Fashion Show

Rihanna’s Fenty brand is usually praised for celebrating diversity, but not this time! The singer received backlash after using a controversial song at her Savage X Fenty fashion show in 2020.

The song Doom by Coucou Chloe, includes a Muslim text known as a Hadith, and so hearing this song played out during Rih’s show raised some questions among Muslim fans.

Rihanna immediately apologized saying the use of the song was “irresponsible” and an “honest, yet careless mistake.”

rihanna apologizes for using muslim song at fashion show
badgalriri | Instagram

21. Rihanna Wears a Hindu Pendant

While some of us were too busy stanning Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie in this photo, others were mindful enough to notice the cultural appropriation.

Rih was accused of religious insensitivity after she posted this topless image of herself wearing a pendant depicting the Hindu god Ganesha.

Commenters wrote, “Can we stop sexualizing people’s religion for clout,” while another comment read, “Our culture is not your costume.”

rihanna wearing a Ganesha necklace
badgalriri | Instagram

22. Rihanna Invites Johnny Depp to Fashion Show

When Rihanna invited Johnny Depp to her Savage X Fenty Show in 2022, she was bashed by fans. “rihanna can’t be serious? with all these beautiful and unproblematic men in hollywood, and johnny depp is the one that appeals to you the most,” a fan wrote on Twitter.

The event came soon after the actor stood trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, who accused him of domestic violence and sexual assault. No surprise then that it ruffled some feathers.

23. Rihanna’s Super Bowl Performance Spurs Complaints

You’d think it was her pregnancy reveal at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show that got the people talking. Instead, Rihanna’s groundbreaking performance received more than 100 complaints about her overly sexual performance.  

It’s not the first time Rih’s performances have spurred complaints. Her performance on the UK X Factor in 2011 received 2,750 complaints for being too sexy for family viewing. What a bunch of haters!

24. Rihanna Gives a Lazy Billion-Dollar Performance

Fans were mind-blown to learn that Rihanna was paid a whopping $6.3 million fee for a private performance in India. But what shocked everyone most was how lackluster her performance was.

When videos of the show went viral, fans expected to see Beyoncé-Dubai standards, but instead was slammed for putting on a lazy and “boring” show.

25. Rihanna’s Accused of Being ‘Disrespectful’ to Christianity

Rihanna had us shooketh when we saw her photoshoot for Interview Magazine. I mean, slay queen! But others weren’t so impressed by the ‘problematic’ look.

Dressed in a catholic nun’s outfit, wearing heavy makeup, and having her oily chest half-exposed, Rihanna sparked controversy once more by being accused of disrespecting Christianity.

rihanna interview magazine

Rihanna may have a strong mindset and she might act as she pleases, but she doesn’t put on a front or act like she’s above anybody else, and that’s one of the many reasons why we love the singer-turned-businesswoman.

What do you think of Rihanna’s most controversial moments? Which scandal shocked you the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box!

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Tale Tellers

  • Joanna Zambas

    Joanna has a history in the fashion world; having studied lifestyle and fashion journalism at BA and MA level, she then proceeded to work in the hustle and bustle of fashion PR. These days you can find her working in the marketing sphere, content writing and religiously following the ins and outs of the entertainment world. She’s obsessed with celebrity style and the Kardashians – but who isn’t?!

  • Angela Stephanou

    After completing her BA in Communication, Media and Film studies, Angela launched Tell Tales Online, and now writes and oversees the content and strategy across the site. As a pop culture junkie, she follows more celebs than real-life people, her guilty pleasure is watching The Kardashians, but she's also a fan of Marvel and Game of Thrones.

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David Kabali
2 years ago

This is going south in a basket