Rihanna is ''proud'' of Chris Brown.

The former couple - who split up in February 2009 after he physically assaulted her - shared a hug when he won the Best Male Video prize at the MTV Video Music Awards, and she appeared to peck Chris on The Cheek to congratulate him and friends of the pair say Rihanna is proud of the way he has turned his life around.

A source told HollywoodLife.com: ''They on a whole new level right now man - you feel me? [Rihanna's] proud of [Chris] for winning awards and giving back to the community and being a role model. That's what kind of s**t [he's] on right now. [Chris is] doing his thing and [he's] being good. That's what's up.''

This comes after Chris was forced to deny a new Tattoo on his neck depicts Rihanna's battered face after he hit her.

The inking appears to show a woman with the same injuries Rihanna sported after the altercation - including a black eye and bruised lip - but the Tattoo is a MAC cosmetics design of a skull associated with the Mexican Celebration of the Day of the Dead, according to Chris' representative.