"I was wrong for what I did," Brown told ABC News' Robin Roberts. "And I would definitely say that it's not something that I look past or look over. Something that's really, really touchy. And, and like I said, I'm -- I'm really sorry for -- for what went down. And what happened."
Brown, 20, spoke candidly to Roberts about his year-long relationship with pop sensation Rihanna, which began as a friendship.
Brown -- then a 15-year-old skinny teen with a winning smile -- had rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts and was hailed as the next Michael Jackson. The prince of R&B and 16-year-old teen pop queen Rihanna had a seemingly fairytale relationship. But something disturbing emerged.
Brown beat Rihanna during an argument after a pre-Grammy Awards party Feb. 8, 2009.
"I never ever had problems with anger. No, no domestic violence with any of my past girlfriends or any altercations," Brown said. "I never was that kind of person. ... I look at it, and it's really, like really difficult. It's like, 'How could I be that person?'"
According to the police affidavit, the argument began when Rihanna read a text message on Brown's phone from another woman. Brown shoved Rihanna into the window of his car, while driving. According to the police report, he punched her several times and said, "I'm going to beat the s**t out of you when we get home." When Rihanna countered by calling her assistant's phone, Brown warned, "You just did the stupidest thing ever. I'm going to kill you," and threw her phone out the window, the report noted.
Brown, who fled the scene, turned himself in to police eight hours later and was charged with two felonies, assault and making criminal threats. He was released after posting $50,000 bail, but faced a firestorm of controversy.
"It was something that -- I really have to really think about it. I was like, 'Man, I let a lot of people down,'" he said.
In the fallout from the assault, advertisers for the Milk Mustache campaign and Wrigley's Doublemint gum dropped the singer. Some music stations across the country also banned Brown's songs.
But it was the public apology he posted on his YouTube page, six months after the assault, which drew some of the sharpest criticism. In a video, Brown apologized to his fans, claimed to have apologized to Rihanna "countless times," and reiterated that he was seeking help.
"I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control, and what I did was inexcusable. I am very sad and very ashamed of what I've done," he said, speaking directly to the camera. "I intend to live my life so that I am truly worthy of the term 'role model.'"
In Rihanna's exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer, which aired on "20/20," Rihanna said it sounded like Brown "might have been reading off of a teleprompter."
Brown revealed to Roberts that he had been heavily coached.
"I had a week of -- not -- not even a week, maybe three or four days of PR. And they just telling me like, 'OK, don't say this. And don't say it this way, 'cause they're gonna take it this way,'" he said. "So, I had in my -- my head wasn't really giving me a chance to be me. It was just being myself through other people. ... It was genuinely from me, but it wasn't projected genuinely."