Negative press 'taking its toll' on Brown

Embattled singer Chris Brown is struggling to deal with the public backlash following his alleged bust-up with Rihanna last month, according to his pal Tyrese Gibson.

Embattled singer Chris Brown is struggling to deal with the public backlash following his alleged bust-up with Rihanna last month, according to his pal Tyrese Gibson.

The 'Kiss Kiss' hitmaker is facing almost five years behind bars if convicted of assaulting Rihanna during the February 8 incident, which left the 'Umbrella' singer beaten and bruised.

The couple reconciled after a meeting at rap mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs' Miami, Florida mansion, but Rihanna has since reportedly called off the romance.

Brown's career has taken a knock since the headline-grabbing altercation, with bosses at gum firm Wrigleys and America's National Dairy Council pulling promotional campaigns featuring the star, and bosses at several radio stations have removed his songs from their playlists after receiving

complaints from listeners.

And 'Transformers' actor Gibson insists Brown, who was recently pictured laughing and enjoying a ride on a jet ski, is not coping with the ordeal as well as it may seem.

He said: "Although he appears to be really strong through all of this, it's really taking a toll on his spirit. People like me and Puff (Combs), we're just trying to show him love and keep his spirits up while he's going through all of the heat, and there are a lot people doing the same for Rihanna."

And Gibson claims Brown is also finding it difficult to return to work, despite the fact he's back in the studio preparing for his next album.

The actor added: "It's really hard for him to focus right now on his music, even though he really wants to.

"At the end of the day, I'm not trying to justify it because wrong is wrong, but unfortunately, us as entertainers, we have to grow up on stage with a lot of people looking at us. And a lot of people forget that he's 19, she's only 21."

Brown is due to be arraigned in a Los Angeles court in April.

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