Robin Givens’ breakout role as Darlene in Head of the Class was over 25 years ago and the 47-year old has continued to work nonstop in Hollywood ever since. Despite having her controversial marriage to Mike Tyson briefly eclipse her career, the actress rebounded with classic, memorable roles on the big screen (Rage in Harlem, Boomerang), the stage (Chicago) and has kept extremely busy on the small screen (Chuck, House of Payne). TV audiences can next see her as a guest star on the hit TV Land comedy Retired at 35.
BET.com chatted with Givens about her new guest starring role, the Wendy Williams movie and why she won’t discuss Tyson.
Tell us about Dr. Keller, the guest starring role you play on Retired at 35.
Well she’s a doctor [the characters] George Segal and Jessica Walter [play] go to see in Florida. They are going through couples’ therapy. I’m a huge fan of the two of them — George and Jessica — and to be on the set was pretty amazing for me.
Cedric the Entertainer guested on Hot in Cleveland and now stars in a successful sitcom from that appearance, The Soul Man. Do you think your character has spinoff potential?
You know what, that would be so wonderful. I think Dr. Keller probably could [be spun off] because she’s one of those characters that is so together for other people and she's really great at what she does. But her own life — she would need someone to help her with that and I love playing those characters. Her life could be a mess [with her] trying to keep all those balls in the air.
You’re playing a marriage therapist on Retired at 35 and you’ve been married twice, how would your character counsel your younger self about marriage?
I don’t really count the second time at all [Laughs.] I don’t know, I’m not too into talking myself personally, but that’s just the character I play. I don’t think there’s any correlation whatsoever.
Can we talk about Mike Tyson? What do you think of his new Broadway show?
That’s not what I called to talk to you about, just Retired at 35.
Your personal life was at one time so public and now you’ve managed to live a completely private existence —
[Interrupts] I’m not interested in talking about my personal life, I’m so sorry. I just want to talk about Retired at 35. I’m so sorry. I’m happy to talk to you about that.
A few years back it was reported that Wendy Williams handpicked you to play her in a movie. Any update?
We shot the movie already two summers back, I don’t know when it comes out. It was a feature film. I really don’t know.
What’s life like as an actress for you now as opposed to when you started?
I wrote an article years back for Ebony magazine about Black women in Hollywood and I interviewed Ruby Dee. And I remember her saying to me, 'Being a Black woman in Hollywood is like going to the ocean and only being allowed a cup of it.' I wrote that article 20 years ago and I don’t know how much that has changed. I did a long guest run on Chuck and the woman I played was originally written as a blond [white woman], so we’re still trying to break through our own glass ceiling. For me, personally, it’s nice. I’m more mature and I have a certain perspective. I think there are certainly more great roles for women. We can’t think of it as, “Oh my God, I’m not 20 anymore!” I feel better now than I did in my twenties, in terms of who I am.
Retired at 35 airs tonight on TV Land at 10pm/9C.
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