The actress ended her eight-month marriage to the former professional boxer in 1988, citing spousal abuse as the cause of their highly contentious and public divorce, and she now admits she was afraid to relive her violent past onscreen when she initially heard about the film over the summer (Jun20).
"I felt this drop in the pit of my stomach and was like, 'Oh no, here we go again,' " Robin tells People. "I felt like the world was crumbling again."
The 55-year-old mother-of-two insists the terror didn't end after the divorce as Tyson targeted her in the media by bad-mouthing her in his "Undisputed Truth" memoir and accompanying podcast of the same name in 2012 when he falsely accused her of sleeping with Brad Pitt during their marriage.
"I remember my ex-husband calling up and saying, 'I've decided I'm not going to kill you. I'm going to make your life so miserable you're going to slit your own throat and die,' " she recalls. "The marriage was eight months of my life and yet he's still saying slanderous things on his podcast. He's not physically hitting me anymore, but it hurts almost as much."
Robin's attorney send out a cease and desist letter in September (20) in an effort to make sure her doesn't appear in the upcoming "Tyson" film, prompting the filmmakers to assure her she wouldn't feature in the biopic, and she now feels empowered that her bid to remove herself from the movie was successful.
"I'm more than relieved," says Givens. "I felt like I could stand up now as opposed to before."
"Before I couldn't stand up, and maybe it's because the world has changed. I mean, we're living in a different world now; 2020 is a different time, I think, for women. Now I'm just trying to really give a voice to women that don't have a voice."
Robin also spends time volunteering in women's shelters and on the National Domestic Violence Hotline, talking to victims and helping other domestic violence survivors heal.
"My story was very public, but when I speak to women and I sit in shelters and I hold children, I realise that the details of our stories are the same," she shares. "My story is your story. Your story is my story."