(Reuters) - Pop star Rihanna called her recent musical collaboration with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown "innocent," after critics and fans split on the duo working together three years after Brown assaulted the pop star.
"We did two records, one for my fans and one for his fans, and that way our fans can come together. There shouldn't be a divide, you know, it's music and it's innocent," Rihanna told Ryan Seacrest on his syndicated morning radio show on Thursday.
Rihanna provided vocals on a remix of Brown's new dance song "Turn Up The Music" while Brown lent his voice to Rihanna's sexually-charged "Birthday Cake." Both tracks were released last month after the Grammy awards on February 12.
"I reached out to him about doing "Birthday Cake" because that's the only person that really it made sense to do the record, just as a musician, despite everything else, that was going to be the person," Rihanna told Seacrest.
"I thought about rappers and I've done that so many times, and the hottest R&B artist out right now is Chris Brown, so I wanted him on the track," she added.
Brown nearly derailed his career three years ago on the night before the Grammys, after he was arrested for beating up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Since that time he has tried to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of fans with mixed results.
The musical reunion of Rihanna and Brown had social networks abuzz as fans split on the pair working together with some making cynical comments, others calling it a publicity stunt and many embracing the new songs.
Brown has yet to comment openly on the collaboration.
(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)