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Bobby Brown Shares How He and Mike Tyson ‘Keep Each Other on Solid Ground’ After Their Kids’ Tragic Deaths (Exclusive)

The New Edition star tells PEOPLE exclusively that he and the boxing legend have bonded as grieving fathers

<p>Arnold Turner/Getty</p> Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown

Arnold Turner/Getty

Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown

Fame and friendship brought Bobby Brown and Mike Tyson together years ago, but grief has made their bond even stronger.

The Grammy-winning New Edition singer, 55, opened up to PEOPLE exclusively in a new interview about the boxing champ, 57, who turned out to support him at the Bobbi Kristina Serenity House Gala, a domestic violence charity event on March 4 held in honor of Brown's late daughter with Whitney Houston.

In 2015 Bobbi Kristina died at 22 after being found unresponsive in a bathtub at the home she shared with ex Nick Gordon. The singer also lost his son Bobby Brown, Jr., who died of an accidental overdose at 28 years old.

<p>Paul Archuleta/Getty, Tiffany Rose/WireImage</p> Bobby Brown and Bobbi Kristina Brown

Paul Archuleta/Getty, Tiffany Rose/WireImage

Bobby Brown and Bobbi Kristina Brown

"We go way back," Brown says of Tyson. "When he first started fighting and I first went solo we did a lot of hanging out together."

That said, the two grew even closer after both experienced the loss of a child. For Tyson, the unthinkable happened in 2009 when his 4-year-old daughter Exodus died after accidentally choking herself with a cord.

Related: Mike Tyson's 4-Year-Old Daughter Dies

The two fathers have continued to be there for one another as they grieve through the years. "His support is great," says Brown. "Him being a friend of mine and having someone else to talk to to get through, because he also lost a child, and just to have him as a friend, it means everything to me."

Still, Brown admits they choose not to discuss their painful losses more often than not. "We try to stay away from it," he says of purposefully talking about other things with Tyson. "It's always in the foreground, but we try to keep each other on solid ground."

<p>Arnold Turner/Getty</p> Lakiha Spicer, Mike Tyson, Bobby and Alicia Etheredge-Brown on March 4 at the Bobbi Kristina Serenity House 4th Annual Gala

Arnold Turner/Getty

Lakiha Spicer, Mike Tyson, Bobby and Alicia Etheredge-Brown on March 4 at the Bobbi Kristina Serenity House 4th Annual Gala

Related: Mike Tyson, 57, to Return to Boxing for Live Match Against Jake Paul, 27, on Netflix

And they continue to root for one another.

This summer Tyson is set to return to the ring for the first time in years, facing off against Jake Paul, a controversial influencer-turned-fighter who is 30 years his junior. The match will take place in Arlington, Texas and air during a live special on Netflix July 20.

<p>Alexander Tamargo/Getty, Gilbert Flores/Penske Media via Getty</p> Jake Paul, Mike Tyson

Alexander Tamargo/Getty, Gilbert Flores/Penske Media via Getty

Jake Paul, Mike Tyson

"He's really looking forward to it," says Brown of his pal. "I'm going to be there front and center, making sure that he does what he plans on doing. He's going to hurt that boy. Mike's in great shape. I don't think that boy realizes who he actually signed a contract with."

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