Loretta Devine defended Chris Brown and Rihanna's relationship on "Watch What Happens Live!" Tuesday night, claiming that Brown was a "youthful" boy and generally a charming young man. Devine's claims, downplaying the domestic abuse of Rihanna by Brown in 2009, have already ignited controversy.
"[Chris Brown] wasn't the first one to hit somebody," said Devine of the controversy that engulfed both singers after the infamous incident.
Rihanna was hospitalized, her bruises put on display for the world to see. Brown was ostracized, his music pulled from shelves, his endorsements lost, and he was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. Still, Devine made light of the situation with host Andy Cohen.
"They acted like he was the first man to ever hit somebody," said Devine, who worked with Brown on the 2007 family film "This Christmas." "From knowing him, he's a very youthful boy. From 'This Christmas,' he was doing stuff like skeeting water on the back of your neck and sneezing."
Devine also surmised that Brown his Barbados-born former girlfriend had never left each other despite the firestorm.
"I don't think they ever split up," she said when asked if Chris Brown deserved a "second chance" with Rihanna.
"Really?" gasped Cohen. "I think that comes from some sort of knowledge that you have," said the host.
Devine, however, stated that the statement was her opinion, and not based on definite evidence. Her vague explanation that "love is love" was the source of those beliefs, said the 62-year-old.
Critics of both Devine and Brown were many. Although she acknowledged that her words could invoke controversy— "I'm in trouble now," she joked during the program—many disapproved of her comments.
"I am 100 percent willing to forgive a person … provided that they are humbly repentant for what they did and are attempting to rehabilitate," wrote gatapez on the Jezebel.com blog. "Brown has demonstrated neither of those two actions, and no matter what Devine says, that's extremely telling of his character."
"I can't speak for anyone else, but I have zero patience for abusers of any kind," agreed TopLevelExecutive.