Grammy-winning R&B singer Rihanna said she once felt she was strong enough to take back boyfriend Chris Brown after he famously assaulted her in 2009, but finally realized she had been stupid to think that way.

"I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn't understand him," she told Vanity Fair magazine in a cover story for the November issue.

Explaining why she took him back after he left her bloodied on the eve of the Grammy awards, Rihanna, 27, said she thought: "Maybe I'm one of those people built to handle ... this.

"Maybe I'm the person who's almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they're not strong enough and to be able to say the right thing."

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Chris Brown, left, and Rihanna sparked headlines when seen together again in Los Angeles in late 2012. (The Associated Press)

But the singer, actress and designer who has become one of the bestselling musical acts of the past decade said she "finally had to say, 'Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.' Sometimes you just have to walk away."

"I don't hate him," Rihanna said, adding: "I will care about him until the day I die. We're not friends, but it's not like we're enemies."

Dolezal 'was a bit of a hero' 

Rihanna also weighed in on fame and her status as a pop cultural icon in the interview, as well as some controversial topics such as Rachel Dolezal, the white NAACP executive who claimed to be black and resigned her post earlier this year.

"I think she was a bit of a hero," the singer said.

"She kind of flipped on society a little bit. Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people's perspective a bit and woke people up."

NAACP Leader-Racial Questions

Rachel Dolezal, seen in March, resigned as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP over lying about her racial identity. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review/Associated Press)

Of her mega-fame, the Puma creative director, The Voice mentor and fashion icon said sometimes "it's way too scary and unrealistic. 

"It's the thing I fear the most: to be swallowed up by that bubble. It can be poison to you," she added.

"I literally dream about buying my own groceries ... Because it is something that is real and normal."

And she laughed off her reputation for hard-partying ways: "I've been thinking lately about how boring I am," Rihanna admitted.

"When I do get time to myself, I watch TV."