Tyler Perry may have produced more than 20 plays, movies and TV shows, but it’s his personal life story that may be his biggest success. For the first time, Tyler is opening up about his abusive past to his good friend Oprah Winfrey.
During Tyler’s interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, he revealed how his childhood was filled with both physical and sexual abuse that he says was “a living hell.”
Tyler confessed that his father brutally beat him as a child and remembered some instances that he will never be able to forget.
“To this day, I don’t know why he did it. But I remember him cornering me in a room and hitting me with this vacuum cleaner cord. He would just not stop,” Tyler said. “There are all these welts on [me], the flesh that’s coming from my bone, and I had to wait for him to go to sleep. When he fell asleep, I ran to my aunt’s house, and she was mortified when she saw it.”
The star lived in fear as child and one day he didn’t think he could deal with it any longer. Tyler said he slit his wrists and tried to commit suicide.
“I thought, ‘What is the point of living?’ ” he recalled. “My mother was truly my saving grace, because she would take me to church with her. I would see my mother smiling in the choir, and I wanted to know this God that made her so happy. If I had not had that faith in my life, I don’t know where I would be right now.”
Not only was Tyler abused by his father, but he also suffered sexual abuse from four different adults.
The first time he was molested was at the age of 5 or 6 when he was building a birdhouse with a male neighbor and he put his hands down Tyler’s pants.
“I’m thinking, ‘What is this?’ ” he said. “And I felt my body betraying me, because I felt an erection at that age.”
He also recalled a man he knew from church molesting him as a young boy.
“[The man from church] used God and the Bible against me to justify a lot of the things that were going on,” he said. “It was so horrible. And that was my first sexual experience, with this man performing oral sex on me as a boy.”
Tyler was brought to tears and thanked Oprah for helping him push for a better future after watching an episode of The Oprah Show.
He hopes that his story will help other men find the courage to speak out and find a way to heal.