LOS ANGELES (AFP) - R&B singer Chris Brown was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation and 180 days of community labour for assaulting his former girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. The 20-year-old singer, who appeared before a court with his mother, best friend and bodyguards, was also ordered to stay at least 100 yards (90 meters) away from Rihanna until August 2014, a distance that can be reduced to 10 yards (nine meters) during industry events. Brown will be able to serve his sentence in his home state of Virginia, but will be required to return to Los Angeles every three months to update Judge Patricia Schnegg on his progress. I wanted to see actual physical labour as opposed to community service, Schnegg said. Brown will perform labour such as trash pickup, car cleaning and maintaining grounds, she said, and will participate in counselling at a Catholic charity. He is also ordered to complete a one-year domestic violence program. Schnegg said she was aware of broadcast chatter that mentioned possible meetings between the two performers, and warned Brown that such encounters would be unacceptable. This is a felony conviction with the potential for state prison if probation is violated in any way, the judge said. District attorney spokesman Sandi Gibbons said the DAs office felt the sentence for Brown is an equitable one. Its in his hands. Brown said he understood the sentence. Upon leaving the courtroom, he and his lawyer declined to speak with reporters. According to a court report, Brown was also involved in two other violent assaults against Rihanna prior to the attack in February, hours before the Grammy awards. The first occurred in Europe three months earlier, when the two performers engaged in a verbal dispute, after which Rihanna slapped Brown, who responded by pushing her against a wall. Then, three weeks before the February attack, the pair had another altercation in Rihannas native Barbados, where they were driving in a Range Rover. Brown got out and broke both front windows. No one was injured. The two incidents were not reported to authorities, according to the report. Rihannas lawyer, Donald Etra, said Rihanna is doing fine and concentrating on pursuing her career.