In a new interview with CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King, Cicely Tyson revealed what it was like to be in love with and married to prolific trumpeter Miles Davis. It’s something she doesn’t speak about often, because the 91-year-old has always been very private.
But as King pointed out, Tyson and Davis were the Brad Pitt and Angelina, the Jay Z and Beyoncé of their time. Still, there were quite a few stories about their relationship. The two made it through seven years of marriage, but there rumors of violence against Tyson, as well as infidelity during their relationship. And in the book on his life, Miles: The Autobiography from 1989, Davis spoke in a malicious manner about his ex-wife. In a review of the book, The Atlantic‘s Francis Miles had this to say about his statements on Tyson in “The Book on Miles”:
His treatment of women is contemptible: he isn’t averse to slugging them to keep them in line. It isn’t bad enough that he talks with unconvincing remorse of hitting his own women; the story intended to illustrate Billy Eckstine’s tough-guy credentials has Eckstine slapping a would-be girlfriend while Davis looks on approvingly. He is spiteful toward the actress Cicely Tyson, the most recent of his ex-wives:
Cicely has done movie and TV roles where she played an activist or something like that, a person who cared a lot about black people. Well, she ain’t nothing like that. She loves to sit up with white people, loves to listen to their advice about everything and believes almost everything they tell her.
And, of course, most people know about Davis’s past with drug addiction, so many of us would assume, especially since things didn’t work out, that he was a difficult man to be married to. However, Tyson told King she cherishes the time she had with the late music legend. Here’s how that back and forth about their relationship went during the chat:
“I don’t really talk about it. No, I don’t. But I will say this. I cherish every single moment that I had with him.”
“But they say it was tumultuous, that it was difficult.”
“What do they know? They are assuming that it was because of the kind of reputation that they perceived was this man. You know? I knew a side–”
“The reputation wasn’t good. The alcoholism, the drugs, that he was abusive to you–”
“The women, yes. All that kind of stuff. But that’s not the man I knew.”
Tyson briefly spoke about her relationship with Davis a few years ago while talking with CNN’s Don Lemon. She said that she was a better person for what she went through with him:
You have two people who are so enriched, blessed by incredible talents. I thought he was. He thought I was. And what it takes to live from day to day with that. There are so many facets to a dual life that is completely alien to most people. There have been some of the most incredible moments afforded me through him…Every moment to me is a learning experience. Once I have experienced [the negative] and lived through it and reached another level of understanding of human beings, especially, particularly talented ones who don’t know themselves how rich they are, then I am the better for that experience.
Check out Tyson’s interview with King in full, which is well worth eight minutes of your time: