Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson says he was born with manic depression and "maybe that's why I'm successful at what I do," but he realizes he has a problem he has to confront, the New York Post reported.
The interview, published in the newspaper Thursday, occurred just hours after Tyson hurled a radio at a television crew he confronted while doing his morning run outside his New Jersey mansion on Wednesday.Following that incident, the Post said, Tyson had a tearful talk with his wife, actress Robin Givens, his mother-in-law, Ruth Roper, and psychiatrist Henry L. McCurtis at which Tyson admitted being out of control at times.
"I was born with this disease," the champion is quoted as saying. "I can't help it. Maybe that's why I'm successful at what I do. I can't help it. This is the way I was all my life."
Tyson, 22, has had a series of violent incidents in the last year. In August he fractured a bone in his right hand in a late-night fistfight on a Harlem street with ex-boxer Mitch Green. Earlier this month Tyson was hospitalized for several days after smashing his car into a tree in Catskill, N.Y., where he trains.
Following the car crash, the New York Daily News said sources close to Tyson quoted the champion as threatening suicide shortly before the wreck. Another source close to Tyson told The Associated Press that the boxer had been depressed because Givens had been staying in New York City rather than at his upstate training camp.
Tyson denied the reports and, after being asked by Givens and Roper to see McCurtis, said he did not need the help of a psychiatrist.
According to the Post, Tyson has changed his mind.
"I'm doing my best, talking to Dr. McCurtis," Tyson told the Post. "This is the beginning."
Tyson said he was relieved to find out he suffered from a problem confronted by millions of Americans.
"It's not scary, it's just that I'm very abnormally high-strung," Tyson said in the interview.
Givens said it was a step in the right direction.
"He's been like this for years and they've been ignoring it. Michael takes a great deal of protecting. ... You can't put a Band-aid on it. Who cares if he fights again. This guy's got to live the rest of his life."
The Post said that Tyson's statements came after a stormy trip to the Soviet Union. Tyson had several violent episodes in Moscow, including chasing Givens, Roper and a secretary through their hotel, the newspaper said, citing sources it did not identify.
The Post said that before the trip to the Soviet Union McCurtis had diagnosed Tyson as manic-depressive, a condition characterized by alternating periods of mania and mental depression. Tyson and Givens returned Tuesday night.