10 Uplifting Truths About Rihanna’s Early Life, Parents, Siblings, Ethnicity, and More

Rihanna’s mother endured years of abuse from Rihanna’s father. She now has a complicated relationship with her dad.

On February 12, 2023, all attention was on Rihanna following her buzzy performance in the Super Bowl halftime show that saw the Kansas City Chiefs shockingly defeat the Philadelphia Eagles. While each aspect of the star’s set will be dissected for years to come, let’s take the opportunity to dig into Rihanna’s family a bit.

The biggest news about Rihanna at the moment is her second pregnancy with A$AP Rocky. Ever since their relationship popped up in the media, both their fan bases have been extremely excited to see what would be to come in their future. Now we know that they’re ready to add a new member to their family!

With the news that Rihanna is pregnant and expecting a second child with her rapper beau, people are generally curious to know what her family life was like when she was growing up. Who exactly are her parents? Is Rihanna close to her parents these days? Here’s what you should know about the beautiful singer’s mom and dad.

10 things about Rihanna’s parents

Rihanna's parents

Who are Rihanna’s parents?

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados. Rihanna‘s father is named Ronald Fenty and her mother is named Monica Braithwaite. She is the daughter of accountant Monica and warehouse supervisor Ronald Fenty. 


What is Rihanna’s ethnicity?

Her mother is an Afro-Guyanese, while her father is a Barbadian of African, Irish, English, and Scottish descent. 


Who are Rihanna’s siblings?

Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty, and two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father’s side, each born to different mothers from his previous relationships.

Rihanna's mother

She didn’t come from a well-to-do family and was mostly traumatised by her father’s alcohol and cocaine addiction.

She grew up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and sold clothes with her father in a stall on the street. Her childhood was deeply affected by her father’s alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction, which contributed to her parents’ strained marriage. Rihanna’s father used to abuse her mother physically, and Rihanna would try to get in between them to break up fights.


She faced health challenges when growing up.

As a child, Rihanna had many CT scans for the excruciating headaches she suffered, recalling, “The doctors even thought it was a tumor, because it was that intense.” 


Her parents divorced when she was 14 years and never reconciled.

When Rihanna was still a teenager (at age 14), her parents got divorced and never reconciled.

According to Hello Magazine, they were together long enough to have three kids together, including Rihanna. She has two younger brothers named Rorrey and Rajad Fenty. Unfortunately for Rihanna and her younger brothers, Ronald struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

His substance abuse is what ultimately led to the demise of his marriage. Rihanna and Ronald didn’t begin to repair their relationship until he was in recovery. These days, she considers him the “coolest person on the planet.” Rihanna‘s parents raised her on the beautiful island of Barbados, but she relocated to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a career in music.


Rihanna is a high school graduate.

She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and Combermere School, where she studied alongside future international cricketers Chris Jordan and Carlos Brathwaite.

Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue a musical career instead.

She grew up listening to reggae music. 

Rihanna and Shontelle, her drill sergeant.

Riri was in the military at 11 and her drill sergeant was a fellow Barbadian singer Shontelle.

Rihanna talked to NME in 2015 about her time in the cadets, saying that when she was 11 years old, the star and her best friend would “have to give trouble in order to enjoy this discipline we were getting.” She added, “And we’d refuse to do push-ups when we were punished. It was a question of: Why just do it? It was so boring to follow the rules.”

The singer, whose partner is A$AP Rocky, hinted that the cadets were about to kick her out, but Rihanna ventured to the Big Apple in the U.S. before that could happen — and the rest is history.

Rihanna’s fans enlisted in her “Navy” following a particular lyric from her 2009 album Rated R: “We’re an army, better yet a navy, better yet, crazy, guns in the air.”

As an 11-year-old, Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme, where the later Barbadian singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant. 

As Shontelle told the BBC in 2009, “We were both in cadets together — it wasn’t compulsory or anything. But picture me and Rihanna in combat boots and fatigues crawling through mud and things like that.”

When asked if she ordered the fashion designer around, Shontelle told the British outlet, “That’s what drill sergeants do. We boss cadets around, we make them do push-ups … especially when they show up on the parade square late.”

Rihanna’s father opined that Rihanna will be a good mom.

In late January 2022, Rihanna announced her pregnancy by showing off her baby bump during a stroll with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky in Harlem.

Ronald told Page Six that he found out hours before the world did. “I just got the news from her last night, and she sent me some photos,” Ronald said. “I’m just over the moon. She’s beautiful inside and out.”

He added that Rihanna will be a good mom. “Rihanna always said that she wanted children, she loves kids,” Ronald said. “She always takes care of her cousins’ kids… she’s going to be a good mom.”

Ronald met Rocky in December 2020 and was impressed with the rapper. “I like him,” Ronald said.

Rihanna's mother

Rihanna is close to her mother than her father.

Monica, Rihanna’s mother, hasn’t publicly commented on the singer’s first and second pregnancy just yet, but she’s most likely just as cheerful about the news.

Based on what the public has seen from Monica’s and Rihanna’s public interactions in the past, they are extremely close to one another. Back in 2019, Rihanna posted a birthday tribute to her mother on Instagram saying, “Thanks for teaching me that strength, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, hard work, and helping others in whatever way you can … is what true beauty looks like.”

In 2021, Rihanna took her mother to celebrate her birthday in New York City with champagne, caviar, chocolate cake, and more. It appeared to be a lovely night.

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