The singer teamed up with her ex-boyfriend for remixes of her track 'Birthday Cake' and his single 'Turn Up the Music', despite his conviction for physical assault against her back in 2009.
Some of the star's fans and the media criticised her for the decision, but Rihanna has insisted that she was not expecting such a strong backlash.
"The whole thing caught me a little off-guard to be honest... especially the amount of... negative attention. Because it never occurred to me how this was going to be a problem. It really didn't," Rihanna told Esquire.
"I thought people were gonna be surprised that we finally did a record together, but I didn't see how people could think it was a bad thing. In my mind, it was just music."
However, the performer insisted that she has not rekindled an intimate relationship with Brown.
"OK. In a completely professional environment. And on a complete professional note. I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that's a whole different discussion," she said.
"And if I ever do, then that's something that y'all have to talk to me about when - if - that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is.
"I think a lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect, and they ended up looking stupid. Because of a song. How stupid. If I was together with every collaborator I worked with... f**k my life."
Rihanna recently released 'Where Have You Been' as the fourth official single to be lifted from her latest album Talk That Talk.
Listen to Rihanna and Chris Brown's 'Birthday Cake' below: