Robin Givens

Robin Givens
Born Robin Simone Givens
(1964-11-27) November 27, 1964
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater New Rochelle Academy
Sarah Lawrence College
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1978–present
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Spouse(s) Mike Tyson (m. 1988; div. 1989)
Svetozar Marinković (m. 1997; div. 1998)
Partner(s) Murphy Jensen (1999–2002)
Children 2

Robin Simone Givens (born November 27, 1964) is an American stage, television, film actress and model. Givens began her acting career after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1984. In 1986, she won the role of Darlene Merriman in the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. She remained with the series for its entire five-year run. After the series ended in 1991, she continued her career with film roles and guest starring roles on television.

In 1996, Givens co-starred on the sitcom Sparks, which aired for two seasons on UPN. In January 2000, she took over hosting duties on the syndicated talk show Forgive or Forget. The show was canceled four months later. Givens has since had recurring roles on The Game, Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and Chuck. In 2007, Givens released her autobiography, Grace Will Lead Me Home. Givens has been married and divorced twice. Her first marriage, to boxer Mike Tyson in 1988, drew considerable media attention as did their divorce the following year. Her second marriage, to tennis instructor Svetozar Marinković in 1997, also lasted a year. In 1993, Givens adopted a son. In 2000, she gave birth to a second son fathered by her ex-boyfriend, tennis player Murphy Jensen.

Early life

Givens was born in New York City, to Ruth Roper (née Newby) and Reuben Givens,[2] who divorced when she was two. Her mother raised Givens and her sister Stephanie in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York. Givens graduated from New Rochelle Academy (a N–12 private school which closed in June 1987), and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College at age 15. She graduated in 1984.[3]



Givens first began acting in 1985 with an appearance on The Cosby Show, followed by roles in Diff'rent Strokes and the 1986 television film Beverly Hills Madam, opposite Faye Dunaway. That same year, she landed her breakthrough role as rich girl Darlene Merriman on the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. The series lasted five seasons, ending in 1991. In 1989, while starring in Head of the Class, she appeared in The Women of Brewster Place with Oprah Winfrey. She later appeared in Boomerang (1992). In 1994, she posed nude for Playboy magazine[4] and was ranked #88 on Empire Magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History list in May 1995.[5] In 1996, Givens portrayed Claudia in the television movie The Face (also known as A Face to Die For) with Yasmine Bleeth. Later that year, she co-starred in the UPN sitcom Sparks, which series ended its run in 1998. She also played Denise in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.


In January 2000, Givens appeared in a cameo in Toni Braxton's music video "He Wasn't Man Enough", as the wife of a cheating husband.[6] She returned to the entertainment industry later that year as the host of the talk show Forgive or Forget, replacing television personality Mother Love halfway through the show's second. Ratings initially increased after Givens took over hosting duties,[7] but soon fell. The series was canceled after this season.[8]

In 2006, Givens attempted a return to television on MyNetworkTV's telenovela Saints and Sinners,[9] but the show garnered low ratings and was soon canceled. Givens continued acting in made-for-television films while also making appearances on Trinity Broadcasting Network's Praise the Lord program (July 12, 2007), and Larry King Live. In June 2007, she released her autobiography Grace Will Lead Me Home.[10] Givens returned to feature films in Tyler Perry's Southern drama The Family That Preys (2008). She also had a recurring role portraying a fictionalized version of herself on the CW comedy-drama The Game. Additionally, she has had a recurring role on the TBS show Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and a guest role on USA Network's Burn Notice. In addition to television and film roles, Givens has performed onstage. In 2001, she appeared in an Off Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues.[11] From February to April 16, 2006, she played the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway play Chicago.[12] In 2007, she toured the country playing a part in the I'm Ready Productions play Men, Money & Golddiggers. Givens starred in the 2009 stage play A Mother's Prayer, which also starred Johnny Gill, Shirley Murdock, and Jermaine Crawford.

In 2007, Givens published a memoir entitled Grace Will Lead Me Home. In it, she reflects on the life of her praying grandmother, Grace, her experiences of domestic violence, her strong will to survive, feeling abandoned by her father, and her faith in God.[13] In 2011, she guest-starred in three episodes of NBC's spy-comedy Chuck: "Chuck Versus the Masquerade", "Chuck Versus the A-Team", and "Chuck Versus the Muuurder", as Jane Bentley. 2015 starred along Clifton Powell, Mishon Ratliff and Malachi Malik in the segment Mama's Boy of TV One's anthology romance horror film Fear Files.[14]

Personal life

After meeting in March 1986, Givens married boxer Mike Tyson on February 7, 1988. Tyson was then estimated to have US$50 million, and he and Givens did not make a prenuptial agreement. During their marriage, Givens and her mother bought a $4.6 million mansion in the affluent suburb of Bernardsville, New Jersey.[15][16] After a miscarriage in May 1988, the marriage began to fall apart.[17] Givens alleged spousal abuse, while Tyson alleged alienation and interest in his money, not in him. The marriage ended on Valentine's Day, just a year later. Newspapers reported that Givens received a divorce settlement of over $10 million from her marriage to Tyson.[18] She later denied the report, stating: "I didn’t receive one dime".[19] She received negative press following her split from Tyson, particularly within the African American community. One article, in particular, described her as "the most hated woman in America".[20] In 1993, Givens adopted her first son, Michael. In 1997, she married her tennis instructor, Svetozar Marinković; Givens filed for divorce months later.[5] In 1999, she had a second son, William, with ex-boyfriend, Murphy Jensen.[21]

In January 2004, Givens critically injured an 89-year-old pedestrian, Maria Antonia Alcover, while driving an SUV through a Miami, Florida intersection.[22] Givens was ticketed for failing to use due care with a pedestrian in a crosswalk, but the charges were later dismissed.[23] In June 2004, Alcover filed a civil lawsuit against Givens and her sister (the owner of the SUV Givens was driving) for an unknown amount.[24]

A May 7, 2009 article in Forbes magazine reported that the Internal Revenue Service was suing Givens for unpaid federal income taxes totaling $292,000, which includes interest and penalties. The government had asked a federal court in Florida for a judgment against her on 39 assessments covering a span of eight years.[25]


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Wiz, TheThe Wiz Guest at Aunt Emma's Party Uncredited
1991 Rage in Harlem, AA Rage in Harlem Imabelle
1992 Boomerang Jacqueline "Jackie/Jack" Broyer
1994 Foreign Student April
1994 Blankman Kimberly Jonz
1995 Dangerous Intentions Kaye Ferrar
1998 Secrets
2000 Everything's Jake Publisher
2001 Elite, TheThe Elite Ashe
2002 Book of Love Iyanna
2002 Antibody Dr. Rachel Saverini Direct-to-video release
2003 Head of State Kim
2003 Good Night To Die Dana
2003 Love Chronicles Monifa Burly
2005 Flip The Script Rain Jones
2006 Restraining Order Diane McNeil
2008 Queen of Media Wendy Williams
2008 The Family That Preys Abigail "Abby" Dexter
2008 Little Hercules In 3-D Dana
2009 Mother's Prayer, AA Mother's Prayer Brenda Direct-to-DVD release
2010 Enemies Among Us Gloria Direct-to-DVD release
2012 Unspoken Words Mrs. Lewis Direct-to-DVD release
2012 Double Sided Miranda Johnson Direct-to-DVD release
2014 Airplane Vs Volcano Dr. Whitmore
2016 God's Not Dead 2 Principal Kinney
Year Title Role Notes
1985 Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby Show Susanne Episode: "Theo and the Older Woman"
1986 Diff'rent Strokes Ann Episode: "The Big Bribe"
1986 Beverly Hills Madam April Baxter Television movie
1986 Philip Marlowe, Private Eye Token Ware Episode: "Pickup on Noon Street"
1986–1991 Head of the Class Darlene Merriman 114 episodes
1989 Penthouse, TheThe Penthouse Dinah St. Clair Television movie
1989 Women of Brewster Place, TheThe Women of Brewster Place Kiswana Miniseries
1992 Angel Street Det. Anita King Television movie
1992 Angel Street Det. Anita King Unknown episodes
1995 Me and the Boys Nina 3 episodes
1995 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, TheThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Denise Episode: "Cold Feet, Hot Body"
1995 Courthouse Suzanne Graham 11 episodes
1996 In the House Alex 3 episodes
1996 A Face to Die For Claudia Television movie
1996–1998 Sparks Wilma Cuthbert 40 episodes
1997 Moesha Ladonna Episode: "Strike a Pose"
1999 Love Boat: The Next Wave, TheThe Love Boat: The Next Wave Dana Chase Episode: "Don't Judge a Book by Its Lover"
1999 Michael Jordan: An American Hero Juanita Vanoy/Juanita Jordan Television movie
1999 Cosby Ms. Malone 2 episodes
2000 Expendables, TheThe Expendables Randy Television movie
2000 Chicken Soup for the Soul Counselor Episode: "The Right Thing"
2000 DAG Jennifer Episode: "Jennifer Returns"
2001 Spinning Out of Control Erin Television movie
2003 Hollywood Wives: The New Generation Kyndra Television movie
2003–2004 One on One Sheila 2 episodes
2005 Captive Hearts Jade Marlo Television movie
2008 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Tanya 6 episodes
2008 Burn Notice Kandi Episode: "Scatter Point"
2008 Game, TheThe Game Herself 7 episodes
2008 Everybody Hates Chris Stacy Episode: "Everybody Hates Doc's"
2010 My Parents, My Sister & Me Keela Goldman 7 episodes
2010 Drop Dead Diva Ann Simpson Episode: "A Mother's Secret"
2010 Nikita Mary Miracle Episode "All the Way"
2011 Chuck Jane Bentley 3 episodes
2011 Reed Between the Lines Dominique Episode: "Let's Talk About Jealousy"
2012 Suburgatory Tulsa Episode: "Independence Day"
2012 Retired at 35 Dr. Keller Episode: "The Dates"
2013 90210 Cheryl 3 episodes
2013–2014 Twisted Judy Recurring Role
2016 Man Seeking Woman Vicki Claus Episode: "Tinsel"
2016 Lucifer Leila Simms Episode: "Sin-Eater"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film
1991 ShoWest Convention, USA Won Female Star of Tomorrow
2004 Black Reel Awards Nominated Television: Best Supporting Actress Hollywood Wives: The New Generation



  2. "Robin Givens Biography (1964?-)". NetIndustries, LLC. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  3. "BIG FIGHT: Tyson-Given marriage down for the count". Anchorage Daily News. 1988-10-19. p. F1. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  4. Givens, Robin; Gorman, Greg (September 1994). "So How Do You Like Me Now?". Playboy. pp. 120–130.
  5. 1 2 "Robin Givens: Biography". Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  6. Farber, Jim (2000-04-23). "SOFT AND SEXY Toni Braxton has a new album, a new video and a 'cute' new man. How sad is that?". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  7. "Givens Boosts Ratings Of `Forgive Or Forget' Show". Jet. 2000-02-14. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  8. "`Forgive Or Forget' TV Show Is Canceled". Jet. 2000-04-17. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  9. "Givens and Harris Join MyNetworkTV" (Press release). MyNetworkTV. November 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-30.
  10. "Book Excerpt: 'Grace Will Lead Me Home'". CBS News. 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  11. "State of the Art". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  12. "Given is 'Roxie Hart' in Chicago". Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  13. Robin Givens: Truly Knowing God. The 700 Club.
  14. TV One’s Fright Night Files Renamed Fear Files and Given a Sequel
  15. Gross, Ken (October 17, 1998). "As Wife Robin Givens Splits for the Coast, Mike Tyson Rearranges the Furniture". People. "The food lies untouched. The only sounds across the breakfast table in the Bernardsville, N.J., mansion are the loud silences of words being swallowed. Finally, Robin Givens, 24, star of the ABC-TV sitcom Head of the Class, pushes herself away from the table and announces, 'I have to pack.' 'Me, too,' says her husband, Mike Tyson, 22, the world heavyweight boxing champion. Suddenly the Sunday morning atmosphere is tense and full of menace."
  16. AP (June 12, 2005). "Mike Tyson Chronology". USA Today. Retrieved March 21, 2011. Oct. 2, 1988 — Police go to Tyson's Bernardsville, N.J., home after he hurls furniture out the window and forces Givens and her mother to flee the house.
  17. McMurran, Kristin (1988-06-27). "The Champ and the Vamp". People. Time Inc. 29 (25). ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  18. Younge, Gary (2003-08-05). "Out for the count". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  19. Bass, Patrik Henry. "Through the Storm: Robin Givens". Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  20. Randolph, Laura B. (March 1990). "Robin Givens: Life After Tyson". Ebony.
  21. Perry, Beth (2007-06-25). "'I've Been Through a Lot'". People. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  22. "Robin Givens Strikes, Hurts Pedestrian". 2004-01-29. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  23. "Charges dismissed against Robin Givens". 2004-12-04. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  24. "89-year-old woman sues Robyn Givens". 2004-06-18. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  25. William P. Barrett (May 7, 2009). "Feds Sue Robin Givens For $292,000 Owed IRS". Forbes.

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