Inside Mike Tyson’s Complicated Relationship With Women: ‘If I Don’t Have a Wife, I’ll Kill Myself’

As incredible as Mike Tyson’s boxing career was in terms of wins and losses, his personal life is troubling to reflect on. From the 1992 rape conviction that cost him several years of his prime to his controversial comments about women, Tyson’s relationships with women are as infamous as anything he did inside the ring.

The boxer, who’s preparing for a November comeback at the age of 54, spoke of his need for “female companionship” is well-documented. The fighter has elaborated on this several times throughout his career. 

Mike Tyson’s troubling past 

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When it comes to Tyson’s past transgressions, his treatment of women both through his actions and how he spoke about them remains one of the most troubling aspects of his long career. In his recent years as a public speaker, he’s doubled down on many of these, albeit often in a jokey tone that implies that it is all fair game. 

His misogynistic language at the time of his meteoric rise was par for the course within a sport that’s often dripping with testosterone. Still, Tyson took it to the next level with his detailed stories of escapades with hotel staff, drug counselors, and fans throughout his long career. 

In a 2015 article for Ms. Magazine, Michele Kort noted a recent Tyson appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. With Kimmel laughing, the fighter jokingly used the term “hit” to brag about his sexual escapades with the “ugly” hotel staff before his fight with Buster Douglas.

His 1992 rape conviction against a former beauty queen, Desiree Washington, exposed this dark side to his entire brand, although the fallout from it didn’t last long after his release from prison. While Tyson hasn’t had any repeat offenses since then, his complicated relationship with women remains a sticking point to this day. 

Tyson on women

Mike Tyson, Robin Givens, and his mom in 1988
Actress Robin Givens sits on her then-husband, Mike Tyson, who play-wrestles with his mother, Ruth | Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

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Tyson seems to view women as both the key to his success and a harbinger of his failures, reports Insider. However, despite his spotted past when it comes to his treatment of women, Tyson also acknowledges that he needs them in his life to feel whole. According to The Daily Star, the thrice-married boxing Hall of Famer spoke about this dynamic. 

“If I don’t have a wife, I’ll kill myself. That’s real talk. I need somebody to listen to, I’m just that person,” said Tyson. “That’s why I got married three times, ‘cos I can’t live without a wife.” 

Despite this need for a wife, the boxer struggles with fidelity, admitting his current marriage was marred with infidelity until recently. “I’m not faithful enough. I’m just not that kind of guy,” he told rapper TI on the podcast, Expeditiously. “I don’t care about nothing enough more than my d*ck, so how am I gonna be faithful to somebody? But it worked! I got ten years with her.”

However, with such a troubling past when it comes to women, the boxer went on to say he’s trying to change.

Tyson looks inside

As Tyson’s past is marred by controversy, it doesn’t mean that he lacks all introspection. Lots can be made about his past comments, especially when it comes to his rape conviction. But the boxer admits he’s trying to improve as a husband, man, and father: According to EurWeb, Tyson said:

“Without my wife, I’m a savage animal … I look at women differently as I get older. When I was younger, I viewed them as pleasure. Now that I’m older, I look at them as the half. It makes me realize that I’m a man. And at this stage in my life, they’re my teachers.

If a man doesn’t have a little bit of fear of his wife, he’s not living his life right. That’s why I got married three times, ’cause I can’t live without a wife.”

Hopefully, this is just the beginning of an introspective Tyson who acknowledges his past. However, it will take more than a podcast appearance and acknowledgment of some issues to get him right in the eyes of many spectators.