Chris Brown and Rihanna have fought rumors that they were an item for so long—she first dismissed him as being “like a brother” in 2006—that it’s hard to imagine a time when people didn’t suspect anything. Rihanna and singer Teairra Mari even introduced Brown’s performance of “Run It!” (“Babe pretty thick, with the kick that’s sick, that needs to be hit”—ouch.) at the Vibe Awards in November 2005, two weeks before the release of his debut album (both Rihanna and Mari’s came out that August). At the time of the ceremony, both women were 17 years old, and Chris was only 16. By December, they’d already be posing for photos together.
While Rihanna has recorded three albums and a dozen top 20 singles (including five chart-toppers), only one of Mari’s singles made the Billboard pop charts and her second album has yet to be released.