BY MEENA HART DUERSON
Chris Brown may have rekindled his romance with Rihanna, but he says a shocking new tattoo on his neck isn't an homage to his former flame despite the eerie resemblance.
The famously hot-tempered R&B star showed off some fresh ink on the red carpet earlier this month, displaying a large tattoo of a woman’s face on the side of his neck.
The black-and-white image shows a woman whose bone structure, arched eyebrows and full lips bear a striking similarity to Brown’s onetime girlfriend Rihanna, but the tattoo version bears the scars of a serious beating.
Her full lips are covered in stitches while she looks like she has a black eye and bruising on the right side of her face.
Sources told TMZ the tattoo is not meant to portray Rihanna, but “a random woman.”
Nevertheless, the image is an unpleasant reminder of the infamous night Brown brutally assaulted Rihanna in 2009 after the Grammy Awards, causing her to be hospitalized with bruises on her face.
Initially separated by a restraining order, the couple have since seemed to reconcile, getting closer than ever this week as Rihanna was seen kissing Brown on the lips at the VMAs.
“I truly love him,” she told Oprah through tears in an interview last month, in which she confirmed the pair continue to have a “very close friendship" since the restraining order was dropped. "I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help."
Though she maintained she was single in the interview with Oprah, she admitted she still has strong feelings for her ex.
“The main thing for me is that he is at peace," she said. "I’m not at peace if he is unhappy or he is still lonely. I care. It actually matters that he finds peace.”