Being Tyson Blog: Episode 5

Mike visits the gravesite of legendary boxer Jack Johnson.

Every week, Mike Tyson’s wife, Kiki, will offer her perspective on each episode in her own words.

Now that Mike is a few short years away from 50, he sees his life in a different way.  The legacy he leaves behind is important.  I’m not talking about the legacy of going down in history as one of the greatest fighters, but rather the mark he leaves on the hearts of his children and family.  Mike is the first to admit that he hasn’t always been the best father, but he is grateful that he has been given an opportunity to work on his relationships with his children. 

Mike poses for a photo with former boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

Mike has eight children.  Mikey (Michael Lorna) is his first-born and then there are Rayna and Amir, the children he has with his former wife, Monica Turner.  There is also Gena, who is Monica’s oldest child. Then there is Miguel and Exodus, who share the same mother.  Exodus unfortunately is no longer with us, but she will never be forgotten.  And last but not least, Milan and Morocco, the children that Mike and I are raising together.

Remarkably, all of Mike’s children are very close.  Mike and Mikey had a bumpy road early in their relationship, but now they are the best of friends.  It’s been a real blessing for me as the "step-mother" to have such amazing children to consider an extension of my family. They are all very warm-hearted, intelligent and well-mannered children.

The Mike I know and love is the Mike that is the family man: the caring, loving father and friend that I share much laughter with.  Our lives are very quiet outside of public appearances that Mike has to make.  So, when we do venture out it is often an adjustment process for me.  I’m so used to having him in the comfort of our home, then we go out into the real world, which feels more surreal than real, with people rushing towards him to shake hands and take pictures.  But it’s nice to see how loved and revered he still is after all this time, even from people that he loves and admires like Muhammad Ali and Dana White.  This is something unique and special to him.  Most fighters after they retire are too often forgotten, but Mike has had the ability to transcend beyond just being a boxer.  He has touched the hearts and stirred passionate emotions, whether good or bad, from people in a way that is unprecedented.

Mike sits ringside at a UFC even with UFC president Dana White.

Mike now understands his responsibility as a role model and that his actions spark reactions from those that think of him as a sports hero.  When he was Iron Mike he didn’t quite care to grasp that concept.  Although he wasn’t trying to be a role model, he still inherited that designation because of his incredible accomplishments in the sport of boxing.  Mike tells me Iron Mike was all an act, that it was the biggest acting role of his life.  It was his alter ego on steroids.  The Mike that we see today doesn’t identify with the mean mask of a man he had to be in order to be the best.  However, he respects the accomplishments that came from the Iron Mike persona and allows the Mike today to be okay with the Mike of past.