Real name: Robin Simone Givens
Partner: Svetozar Marinkovic (1997)
Robin Simone Givens was born to Ruth and Reuben Givens in New York City on November 27, 1964. Robin was raised with her younger sister by their mother, Ruth in suburban Westchester County, New York. Her mother helped her daughters by encouraging their creativity; this influenced their interest in the arts. As a young artist, Robin played violin for a short while. She chose acting instead, and began classes in New York City, at age ten, at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1980, Givens enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College as a freshman in pre-med, at age fifteen. During her junior year, she became so interested in acting that she left school. She once claimed in Seventeen Magazine that she was accepted to Harvard Medical School but had given it up to appear on The Cosby Show because Bill Cosby himself told her that the school would always be there and her youthful career opportunities would not.
She appeared on The Cosby Show and Diff'rent Strokes and the TV movie Beverly Hills Madam as April Baxter, before receiving the role as rich girl Darlene Merriman on the sitcom Head of the Class, which made her famous. The series was a comedy about a group of gifted high school students that were placed in an enrichment class. She also appeared in an episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
She achieved further prominence as the wife (1988-1989) of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson with whom she shared a mansion in the affluent suburb of Bernardsville, New Jersey. They divorced, however, after Givens accused Tyson of spousal abuse. 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. After her run on Head of the Class and her high profile divorce from Tyson, she appeared in numerous TV specials, TV movies (most notably The Women of Brewster Place with Oprah Winfrey and The Face with Yasmine Bleeth) and some failed sitcoms.
Givens married again in 1997, to her tennis instructor Svetozar Marinkovic. The marriage was a failure, as the two were separated from the day of their marriage. In October 1999, she had a son, with tennis player Murphy Jensen; they are no longer together and also had a fling with Brad Pitt which she confirmed on the Oprah Show, saying how Mike broke down their hotel room door attempting to assult Brad. She has another child, and is a single parent.