NEW YORK -- Camille Ewald, considered a second mother by Mike Tyson, Thursday disputed a newspaper interview in which the heavyweight champion admitted to a history of manic depression.
An unnamed source in the Thursday edition of the New York Post described Tyson as 'out of control.' That description was very different from the teenager Ewald knew growing up in her Catskill, N.Y., home.
'Mike is a normal, balanced boy and has very good control over himself and his body,' Ewald said. 'He didn't have an unusual temper. He was very mild-mannered. Now all of a sudden he needs medicine and he has this disease. He wouldn't take an aspirin for a headache when he was here.'
'Mike is out of control,' the source said. 'He needs a lot of help. He terrorized Ruth, Robin and Phyllis in Russia,' referring to Tyson's wife Robin Givens, mother-in-law Ruth Roper, and Givens' social secretary, Phyllis Polaners.
'I was born with this disease,' Tyson said. '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.'
The paper said that Tyson made the admission as his marriage to Givens was near the brink of dissolving.
The source said that Tyson swallowed eight lithium pills before leaving the Soviet Union when his wife reminded him to take his medicine. Tyson travelled to Russia to be with Givens, who was filming two episodes of her television series, 'Head of the Class.'
'Mike is very agressive when he is fighting and working,' Ewald said. 'But when he wasn't boxing, he was very gentle and calm.'
Tyson, in an interview with Givens, Roper, and psychiatrist Henry McCurtis present, admitted to being out of control at times.
'It's not scary -- it's just that I'm very abnormally high-strung,' he said. 'There's another, I forget the scientific name ... there's a mania, a manic depression and it's a form of something you're born with.
'I'm doing my best, talking to Dr. McCurtis -- this is the beginning,' he said.
McCurtis' secretary said Thursday the doctor was not accepting phone calls from the media.
'Mike has sought and is receiving the help he needs,' said Dan Klores, a spokesman for Howard Rubenstein Associates, Tyson's publicist. 'I won't comment on the newspaper article.'
Givens in the Post report is quoted: 'He's been like this for many 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 Tyson called Ewald at 3 a.m. the day he came home from the Soviet Union and told her to leave the door open.
'He called me at 2 a.m. and got to my house at 3:15 a.m.,' said Ewald. 'This is not unusual. This is the usual procedure. He has done this many times. He doesn't have the keys because he always loses them. I wish people would stop picking on him.'
Tyson's admission comes at the end of a stormy summer in his personal life. Last month, he broke his hand during astreet brawl with former ring opponent Mitch 'Blood' Green, forcing the postponement of an October bout to defend his heavyweight title.
Shortly thereafter, Tyson was injured when the car he was driving crashed into a tree outside Ewald's upstate New York home, leading to a New York Daily News report that Tyson crashed into the tree on purpose during a failed suicide attempt.
The Post reported that during Tyson's last night in Russia, the boxer went on a bizarre chase after Roper, Givens and Polaner through the Hotel Rosseyi and threatened guards by saying 'I'll kick your whatever.'
The paper also reported that Roper has hired ex-New York City detectives to protect the family and Tyson, and quoted a source as saying Roper was afraid for her own and Givens' safety.
The paper said the presence of the detectives at their Bernardsville, N.J., home infuriated Tyson. The next day, the presence of a TV crew so enraged Tyson as he was jogging, that he threw his portable radio at the camera, breaking the lens.