updated 02/13/2009 AT 1:50 PM ET
•originally published 02/13/2009 AT 2:00 PM ET
John Legend was surprised to hear about the allegations of assault against Chris Brown – but says the singer will have to accept the consequences of his actions if the reports are true that he hit his girlfriend, Rihanna.
“I know both of them. I was surprised when I heard because it doesn’t strike me as something Chris would do,” Legend told PEOPLE Thursday at Las Vegas’s LAX during the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue release party.
“You never know what’s inside people or what can trigger that,” he added.
Although Legend has never recorded with either Brown or Rihanna, he knows them both from award shows and just being in the music industry together.
“It’s an awful story,” he said. “I feel terrible for both of them but if Chris did what they said he did, that’s unacceptable. He has to accept the consequences of it.”