Mike Tyson has opened up about his volatile relationship with his first wife, actress Robin Givens, confessing he wanted to "sock" her for what she said to U.S. interviewer Barbara Walters in a famous 1988 TV special.
The former boxer, who Givens later accused of physically abusing her before divorcing him, admits he felt stupid as he sat by his wife's side while she poked fun at him and accused him of being violent towards her on national television.
Looking back, he wishes he had stopped the actress and spoken for himself - but he was so angry he feared he'd lose control of his emotions in front of TV cameras.
Appearing on U.S. TV talk show Oprah on Monday (12Oct09), Tyson said, "I truly wanted to sock her... but I just didn't do it. I was young at the time... I have socked her before and she socked me before, but it was just that kind of relationship, you know."
And while show host Oprah Winfrey attempted to contemplate the type of damage Tyson could do in a fight with a woman, the former champ said, "Robin is a very tough woman... and she can be very mean as well. She's no easy pushover at all."
The former boxer also revealed he was a terrible husband and cheated on his first two wives because he "didn't understand marriage" - but the failure of his relationship with Givens left him "devastated".
He added, "I was just a young kid and I'd never been in that degree of matrimony before. It just devastated me. I wasn't prepared for any kind of emotional struggle like that at all."
Givens and Tyson split after just eight months. The actress is now the spokeswoman for America's National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Tyson wed his third wife Lakiha Spicer this summer (Jun09) and insists this time he's ready to be a good husband: "I realised that I was just gonna die if I didn't settle down with my wife... This Iron Mike guy was gonna be finished."