“Men can’t brag about hitting women any longer.”
Jamie Foxx has already started bulking up to play Mike Tyson in a new biopic — but the movie comes with some complicated feelings for the boxer’s ex-wife, Robin Givens.
Givens and Tyson married in 1988, but she filed for divorce just eight months later. At the time, she told Barbara Walters being married to him was “torture, pure hell” — and claimed in her divorce announcement he threatened to kill her and their relationship was one filled with “continued violence.”
Appearing on Oprah in 2009, Tyson even admitted he had “socked” her during their marriage and said it “definitely” was an abusive relationship — but added, “both ways.”
In a pair of new interviews on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy this morning, Givens was asked her thoughts on the upcoming biopic and how she might be portrayed if their history is included in the film.
“It’s a little, hm, I don’t want to say bothersome but it’s funny in life how you’re always kind of learning and growing and healing and that wasn’t like a fun ex for me,” she told Andy Cohen. “I had a good friend of mine — we’ve been talking about this — I went and got the book that he wrote and I was reading it and there were so many things that are so not true that it’s hard not to feel deeply disturbed by it, you know what I mean?”
While she said she hopes she’s “stronger” because of their time together, she said Tyson’s claims have been “a little upsetting.”
When Cohen asked whether she hopes she’s not in the movie at all, she said, “Of course” — adding, “the absolute truth would be absolutely yes.”
“You know what term you hear a lot recently, ‘My truth,’ I hear that term. For me, I kind of believe truth is truth,” she continued. “It’s Monday, 7:45 Pacific Time, there are certain things that are true and not true. And for somebody to take history and repurpose it or write what they want is so deeply upsetting to me. I don’t want to get bogged down in that … I think just to be able to lie … you throw enough mud, it sticks. We’re living in this time now where people can say all kinds of things and if you say it loud enough, people believe it.”
When Cohen said she should reach out to the film’s producers, she said she hoped the climate has changed enough when it comes to the abuse of women where that isn’t even necessary.
“The climate’s been changed, so you have the #MeToo movement and things that used to be acceptable to do to women or say about women, I don’t think are necessarily acceptable now,” she said.
“I think to be on the other end of what I’ve experienced and to have somebody say, ‘The best punch I ever threw was against Robin and she bounced one wall to the next and was out,'” she continued, repeating a quote from the book “Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson” attributed to Mike. “I’m literally praying that those things, we’re in a climate where it’s not acceptable, it’s not rewarded, it’s not congratulated and that’s something that truly means a lot to me.”
Givens also spoke with Bevy Smith, where she was asked if she hopes she’ll at least be “treated kinder” in the biopic — after she was labeled a “gold digger” by Tyson’s supporters at the time of their divorce.
“How can I say no to that, of course yes,” she answered. “I think, in many respects, what happened to me gave me a voice — not only for myself, but for other women that were in my position.”
She went on to point out how well she was doing for herself before meeting Tyson, to contrast with the “gold digger” image.
“I was a young woman at the time, I was 22 years old. By the time I met my ex-husband, I had graduated from high school at 15, I was a Harvard grad, I had my own TV show, I had my own home. I don’t think a lot of 22 year olds can say that,” she said. “It’s amazing that when people do tell lies, it kind of takes away your truth and I think it’s very important not to let somebody do that. Not to let them rewrite history because you have a louder voice.”
She again brought up how times have hopefully changed, saying “men can’t brag about hitting women any longer and call them names or where the victimizer becomes the victim.”
“I think it’s just a different climate, I hope so and I hope the movie reflects that,” she added. “We don’t let the victimizer get away with now becoming the victim.”
While it remains unclear how much the movie will dig into Tyson’s controversies — which include his relationship with Givens, as well as his rape conviction — or his pop culture comeback, Foxx confirmed in June that the project was in development and his transformation into Tyson, physically, had begun.
“I got a chance to see Mike in two different lives,” he said of his years-long relationship with the boxer. “I saw him at the height of his career, and then when things got bad, when things got bumpy I also saw him as well. So what I’m excited about the movie is to show those moments of the different Mike.”
“Everybody evolves. Everybody comes from a good or bad place and I think when we lay the layers on Mike Tyson and this story, I think everyone, young and old, will be able to understand this man’s journey,” he added.
He also told EW the movie will show his marriage to Lakiha Spicer and their children, “who saved this man from whatever demons inside and outside of his life.”
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The transformation begins… “FINDING MIKE”. It is no secret that I have been pursuing the @miketyson biopic for some time… people always ask me when is it going to happen?… things have finally lined up… A few months ago we started the journey… The first but biggest task is to transform the body… with a regiment of pull-ups dips and push-ups we are off to a pretty good start… we have a ways to go but God willing… yesterday on my good friends @markbirnbaum show. I shared these early pics of the process… like I said we have a ways to go… But I am prepared to get there! #swipeleft TYSON!