Givens was born in New York City, to Ruth Roper (née Newby) and Reuben Givens, who divorced when she was two. Her mother raised Givens and her sister Stephanie in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York. Givens graduated from New Rochelle Academy, and enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College at age 15. She graduated in 1984.
Givens first began acting in 1985 with an appearance on The Cosby Show, followed by roles in Diff'rent Strokes and the 1986 television film Beverly Hills Madam, opposite Faye Dunaway. That same year, she landed her breakthrough role as rich girl Darlene Merriman on the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. The series lasted five seasons, ending in 1991. In 1989, she appeared in The Women of Brewster Place with Oprah Winfrey. She later appeared in Boomerang (1992). In 1996, Givens portrayed Claudia in the television movie The Face. Later that year, she co-starred in the UPN sitcom Sparks, which series ended its run in 1998. She also played Denise in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
In January 2000, Givens appeared in a cameo in Toni Braxton's music video "He Wasn't Man Enough", as the wife of a cheating husband. She returned to the entertainment industry later that year as the host of the talk show Forgive or Forget. In 2006, Givens attempted a return to television on MyNetworkTV's telenovela Saints and Sinners, but the show garnered low ratings and was soon canceled. Givens continued acting in made-for-television films while also making appearances on Trinity Broadcasting Network's Praise the Lord program (July 12, 2007), and Larry King Live. In June 2007, she released her autobiography Grace Will Lead Me Home.
Givens returned to feature films in Tyler Perry's Southern drama The Family That Preys (2008). She also had a recurring role portraying a fictionalized version of herself on the CW comedy-drama The Game. Additionally, she has had a recurring role on the TBS show Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and a guest role on USA Network's Burn Notice.
In 2011, Givens guest-starred in three episodes of NBC's spy-comedy Chuck. In 2015, she starred along Clifton Powell, Mishon Ratliff and Malachi Malik in the segment Mama's Boy of TV One's anthology romance horror film Fear Files. In 2017, she landed the recurring role of Mayor Sierra McCoy on The CW's Riverdale, a television series based on the characters by Archie Comics.
After meeting in March 1986, Givens married boxer Mike Tyson on February 7, 1988. After a miscarriage in May 1988, the marriage began to fall apart. Givens alleged spousal abuse, while Tyson alleged alienation and interest in his money, not in him. The marriage ended on Valentine's Day, just a year later. In 1993, Givens adopted her first son, Michael. In 1997, she married her tennis instructor, Svetozar Marinković; Givens filed for divorce months later. In 1999, she had a second son, William, with ex-boyfriend, Murphy Jensen.
- Appeared alongside Once Upon a Time cast members Tiera Skovbye, Bruce Blain and Barclay Hope on the television series, Riverdale.
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- Robin Givens on Wikipedia
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