Mike Tyson graced Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Star Jones on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” with a gentlemanly grace and admirable sincerity. Read on to learn how the former champ handled a wide variety of questions with the utmost class, humility and stunning honesty…
Barbara Walters: We showed that clip, I remember that interview (with Mike and Givens at their NJ home in 1988). As a matter of fact I remember it was my birthday and you gave me a cake. But you were very sweet and very gentle. And then during that interview, you didn’t show any emotion. You didn’t shake your head, you didn’t do anything. Why not?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know. I was a young kid back then. I got what you call Shanghai’ed with you guys in there and I didn’t know. At that stage in my life when I felt that I was invulnerable and dangerous, I just started thinking and there’s gonna be some fireworks in a moment, you know?
Barbara Walters: So you can change yourself. You can control yourself.
Mike Tyson: Yeah, absolutely.
Joy Behar: Isn’t it true that the next day you threw a chair?
Mike Tyson: Well, I raised hell, yeah.
Joy Behar: Was it like you felt like I said in the beginning (intro segment) when I said you must have been seething with rage, and then it came out the next day?
Mike Tyson: No. It’s just being overwhelmed. I was a young kid. I was definitely what you call Bushwhacked there. And I didn’t just look at it now, this was just a great moment in my life. People make a big deal – I never think about this – when I see her on television – she may be on television after this interview, because I believe she’s a member of some women’s defense club, I don’t know. I’m not familiar but I guess she has a crusade to look after women. And I guess they picked a good guy to pick up against. If I assaulted her I musta really traumatized her. So she’s 22 years later still a strong advocate for it.
Barbara Walters: Mike, do you think I helped to break up your marriage? Or would it have broke up anyway?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know what you woulda did. I don’t think it was meant…yeah, it probably was her fault [big laughter from audience]. No, no, I’m only playing. Stop. But no, listen, no listen. When I was a junkie this is what I realized – this is keeping it real from my perspective. Being a junkie, this is what I didn’t know. I didn’t know how transparent I was. I didn’t know how that everyone I knew knew I was a junkie. Now I think I’m cool. My wife is so worried about me making a mistake here. I was on medication. Talk about transparent – everybody sees who she (Givens) is. I’m sure you can’t give your opinion but you know what she is, you see what she is.
Barbara Walters: I don’t think we have discuss what she is and what you are but…
Mike Tyson: But everyone sees who everyone is. We have opinions, people are transparent. That’s what I meant, I was so transparent when I was high but I wasn’t aware of it.
Barbara Walters: We’ll move on.
Star Jones: I want to take it to your fighting days. Now over your 25 year career you’ve had 50 fights, five championship belts. But through all of that you say you were vulnerable and insecure and you were afraid which I never saw when you were in the ring, any kind of fear. Your eyes never left your opponent. Why did you say those things?
Mike Tyson: Because that’s why I’m the best – because I’m so insecure. Most of us – look at me, I’m a guy who came from nowhere and, what? 20,000, what, three billion people watching me? So I want to look good. I want to be special. I think I’m somebody special. So I’m insecure. I don’t want to lose that insecurity. Anybody that’s totally secure in their position is in position to lose it. I’m never secure.
Joy Behar: It’s interesting that you say that. Muhammad Ali used to say I’m the greatest. Do you think that was a cover up for the fact he was insecure?
Mike Tyson: We have to be insecure. How can we survive in life if we’re not? We’ll walk out on the street in front of cars, fall off buildings.
Joy Behar: You’re in the ring against someone who wants to kill you so I guess you’re a little bit nervous.
Mike Tyson: No, because I’m totally secure that I’m the best that ever lived. Totally secure.
Barbara Walters: You say in the ring you’re different. But a lot of us are different when we’re performing.
Whoopi Goldberg: I have to ask you. I saw the (James Toback) documentary (Tyson). I saw you fight several times. Are you going to do for young kids what Cus D’Amato, the most amazing man ever, your boxing man, are you gonna do for the kids what he was able to do for you?
Mike Tyson: No. I’m not the man for the job. I need a lot of practice. I need to work on that, to reach that position. Because it takes a very special person. He dedicated his whole life – he didn’t have children – the fighters were his children. I need to continue to work on my path – unselfishness – to do that kind of work.
Barbara Walters: You have six children yourself.
Mike Tyson: And listen, everyone, you know something ridiculous? Every child in the world listens to what I say but some of my children won’t [laughter].
Star Jones: Cus was a boxing coach that took you under his wing when you were at a very young age. But you said, as a child, when we were watching the documentary, that you were bullied by the kids growing up in Brooklyn. And looking at you now, everyone knew you as Iron Mike. Was that really true – that you got bullied by everybody?
Mike Tyson: Yeah that is true. That is true. Yeah that’s true. Pretty true.
Joy Behar: Interesting that you were bullied. Let me ask you something. The Evander Holyfield fight – when you bit the guy’s ear a couple times, when you look back on that, do you have regrets? Are you friends with him now?
Mike Tyson: I adore him but I don’t have no regrets because at that stage of his life I didn’t care about his well being [smiles].
Joy Behar: What made you do that? What were you thinking?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know, we were buttin heads and I got mad because he was butted heads better than me. Yeah.
Barbara Walters: So much has happened to you in your life. As your fame grew, your personal life deteriorated. And you talked about that there was the drug abuse that you just mentioned. There was a rape conviction. There was prison. What lesson have you learned? How have you changed from the man I saw 23 years ago?
Mike Tyson: I don’t know, I learned that tearing a man down is just as much power as building him up. And I had to tear myself down to be the man that I am now. Just think about – the guy made $300 million and I’m a big [inaudible] now I can’t stop cheating on my girlfriend or my wife.
Barbara Walters: Do you have money now?
Mike Tyson: I’m totally destituter than broke.
Barbara Walters: Are you?
Mike Tyson: Yeah but I have an awesome life and an awesome wife and awesome kids [applause from audience].
Joy Behar: When you say destitute, do you really mean that you’re broke? You got some money in the bank to tide you over between gigs.
Mike Tyson: I’m totally destitute.
Barbara Walters: How did that happen?
Mike Tyson: I had a lot of fun [smiles].
Barbara Walters: How do you take care of your wife and six kids?
Mike Tyson: That is very interesting. it just happens. You know, it just happens. I’m very grateful, I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to have a wife like that. I don’t deserve to have the kids that I have. But I do. And I’m very grateful.
Barbara Walters: Well, we hope there will be some way now for you to make some money. Stay with us, we have more questions and we’d like to talk with your wife.
END of segment one. Segment Two coming on Tuesday…