'She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22' - Drake declares his undying love for Rihanna
Published 29/08/2016 | 06:27
Rihanna kicked off the 2016 Video Music Awards with a medley of her biggest hits after she was named this year's recipient of MTV's lifetime achievement honour.
Rihanna was another big winner at the VMAs, which she opened with the first of four performances during the New York show, singing hits Only Girl (In The World), We Found Love, and Where Have You Been.
She later returned to the Madison Square Garden stage to belt out tracks like Work, Needed Me, Stay, and Diamonds before she was presented with the prestigious Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award by her frequent collaborator and rumoured boyfriend Drake.
He delivered a heart-warming speech hailing the R&B beauty's achievements, declaring he had been "in love" with her since he was 22, and honouring Rihanna as a "living, breathing legend in our industry".
Previous recipients include Kanye West, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Beastie Boys, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and Madonna.
They then shared a kiss on the cheek as Rihanna stepped up to accept the special Moonman award, which she celebrated as "such an amazing moment" in her career, without addressing Drake's love declaration.
The Bajan star then went on to thank her longtime fans, saying: "My success, it started as my dream, but now my success is not my own; it's my family's, it's my fans, it's my country's, it's the Caribbean as a whole, it's women, it's black women...
"So many people feel like their little piece is such a major part of this puzzle and I have to thank you guys for supporting me, over and over..."
The Video Vanguard Award wasn't her only win of the night - she also helped Calvin Harris claim the Best Male Video title for their latest collaboration, This Is What You Came For.
Other performance highlights came from Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears and rapper G-Eazy, and Nick Jonas, who took over Manhattan's Tick Tock Diner for a rendition of Bacon with Ty Dolla $ign.
Drake professing his love to Rihanna and possibly getting friendzoned on live television. I feel like I just want to hug him tbh #VMAs— Daniel (@thedan41) August 29, 2016
Drake is a perfect example of what happens when you're a nice guy lol. He's super sweet and nice to Rihanna and he got friendzoned— Coleman (@inf0rmationist) August 29, 2016