Who is Robin Givens?
A director, model, and actress with over 100 credits to her name, whose breakthrough role was her portrayal of Darlene Merriman in the series “Head of the Class”, Robin Simone Givens came into the limelight after she married famous boxer Mike Tyson.
However, Robin continued her acting career, and made a name for herself as a successful and talented actress, but many people still remember her as the ex-wife of the boxer, especially after their acrimonious divorce.
Early life and education
Robin was born under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius on 27 November 1964, in New York City USA, a daughter of Ruth Roper and Reuben Givens, who divorced when she was two, after which her mother raised Robin and her sister Stephanie in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York State .
Her ethnicity is African-American, and she was raised Catholic.
She attended a private school, New Rochelle Academy, (which closed in 1987), and aged 15, she enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College, from which she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science (pre-medical) in 1984 – in one of her interviews, she said that she dropped out of Harvard Medical School, and focused on her acting career.
Roles in movies
Although she made her acting debut in the 1978 movie “The Wiz”, her role was uncredited, but she got her chance portraying April Baxter in the 1986 movie “Beverly Hills Madam”, and next, she was seen starring in “The Penthouse” in 1989.
In 1991, Robin was cast to play Imabelle in the crime comedy “A Rage in Harlem”, also starring Forest Whitaker and Gregory Hines, followed by her roles in “Boomerang” (1992), “Angel Street” (1993), and “Foreign Student” and “Blankman” both in 1994.
In the late ‘90s, Robin acted in several TV movies, and then in 2000 she was seen in “Everything’s Jake” and “The Expendables”. Some of her notable roles in the decade were in movies such as “The Elite” (2001), “Love Chronicles” (2003), “Flip the Script” (2005), “Restraining Order” (2006), and “The Family That Preys” in 2008.
From 2010 until 2020, Robin was seen starring in numerous movies, and since the list of her roles is too long to enumerate, we will mention some of her most notable, including in the “Enemies Among Us” (2010), “Four Seasons” (2014), “The Perfect Match” (2016), and in 2017 she was cast as Prosecuting Attorney in the drama “Dreams I Never Had”, which had 22 award nominations and won 16, while Robin won the We Inspire New Directions (WIND) International Film Festival Jury Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In the following years, she was cast to play Shala Davis in the 2018 movie “Never Heard”, followed by her role as Irma in “Gully” in 2019, and then in 2020, Robin was seen in “The Sin Choice”, while her most recent roles were in “Last Looks” in 2021, and “Kimi” in 2022.
Roles in series
Robin made her first television appearance as Susanne in an episode of “The Cosby Show” in 1985, followed by her guest roles in series such as “Guiding Light” and “Sonny Spoon”, before she was cast to play Darlene Merriman in the Primetime Emmy nominated comedy “Head of the Class” which was broadcast from 1986 through 1991, which as mentioned is her most significant television role.
In 1992, Robin portrayed Detective Anita King in “Angel Street”, and three years later, she was seen as Suzanne Graham in “Courthouse”, followed by her role as Alex Peterson in “In the House” in 1996.
Next she stared as Wilma Cuthbert in “Sparks” until 1998, and then in the following years, she guest-starred in “Cosby”, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, and “DAG”.
In the early 2000s, it seems that Robin focused on her movie roles, thus she mostly guest-starred in series such as “The Game”, “Saint & Sinners”, and “Burn Notice”, while in 2010, she was cast to play Keela Goldman in “My Parents, My Sister & Me”, followed by her role as Cheryl Harwood in “90210” in 2013.
In the following years, Robin appeared in an episode or two of various series, including “Twisted”, “Man Seeking Woman”, and “Lucifer” before 2017, when she portrayed Doctor Alfeni Henderson in “About Him 2: The Revolution”, and the same year, she was cast to play her recurring role as Sierra McCoy in “Riverdale”, which was broadcast until 2021.
Concurrently with this role, in 2018, she was Doctor Phillips in “The Bold and the Beautiful”, while in 2019, she was seen as Julianne Johnson in “The Fix”, and the same year, Robin portrayed Stephanie Carlisle Lancaster in “Ambitions”, while her most recent television role was her portrayal of Jada Jet in “Batwoman” in 2022.
Marriage with Mike Tyson
Robin and Mike Tyson started dating in 1987, and the two married on 7 February 1988, and after Robin suffered a miscarriage, as they both claimed, their marriage began to fall apart. Mike Tyson spoke that he believes that her pregnancy and later miscarriage was the oldest trick in a book to rush him to the wedding altar, noting that she didn’t gain a pound for all that time when she was pregnant.
At the time of their marriage, Mike Tyson’s net worth was estimated at over $50 million, and they didn’t have a prenuptial agreement.
Robin filed for divorce in October 1988 citing spousal abuse, and before that, in her interview with Barbara Walters, she was saying about life with her then-husband, describing it as ‘torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine’, talking about Mike’s volatile temper.
Mike sought an annulment, accusing Robin of manipulating the public and stealing millions of dollars from his brokerage account, however, her response was filing a $125 million libel suit for defamation, since after their split, she was described as a ‘gold digger’, and the headlines in various newspapers cited her as ‘the most hated woman in America’, particularly by the African-American and sports community.
Their divorce was finalized on 14 February 1989, and according to sources, she received a divorce settlement of over $10 million from her ex-husband.
Brad Pitt Affairs
During their divorce, as Mike Tyson claims in his memoir “Undisputed Truth”, he and Robin would occasionally meet up for ‘quickies’, and in his book, he recalled that one day, when he was heading to her house, he discovered Robin and Brad Pitt, who back in 1989, wasn’t as famous as today.
Apparently, Robin and Brad Pitt met on the set of the series “Head of the Class”, and were having an affair, and once, Mike Tyson caught them in the bed together, and reportedly Brad said to him: ‘Dude, don’t strike me!’. In his book, Mike wrote: ‘You had to see the look on his face, he looked like he was ready to receive his last rites. He also looked stoned out of his gourd.’
However, Robin claimed that the part saying that he saw them in the car is true, while the part of being caught in bed never happened, and the truth is that they dated for a while, but as she said, Brad never begged Mike not to hurt him.
After the saga with Mike Tyson and Brad Pitt ended, in 1993, Robin adopted her first son, Michael ‘Buddy’ Givens, and in 1997, she married her tennis instructor, Svetozar Marinkovic but filed for divorce after just a few months.
In 1999, she dated a tennis player, Murphy Jensen, with whom she had a second son, William ‘Billy’ Jensen, and after she broke up from Murphy, she was in relationships with Howard Stern (1999-2000), Marcus Schenkenberg (2005-2006), and was engaged to Hosea Sanchez (2008-2009).
How rich is Robin Givens?
After hers and Mike Tyson’s divorce, Robin claimed that she didn’t get the money, and then in 2009, it was reported that the Internal Revenue Service was suing her for unpaid federal taxes totaling $290,000, so people assumed that she might be having financial issues.
However, it is known that while she was in a marriage with Mike Tyson, she bought a mansion valued at $4 million worth, but it isn’t clear if she still owns and lives in this house. According to sources, as of June 2022, despite her long-lasting acting career and numerous movie and television roles, her net worth has been estimated at just $2 million.