Tyler Perry's Painful Past

Tyler Perry opens up to Oprah about painful childhood memories of physical and sexual abuse and a choice that almost took his life as a teen.

Tyler Perry went on Oprah Wednesday afternoon to share the heartbreaking details of his childhood.

Tyler Perry on Oprah: I was severely abused

The How Did I Get Married Too? actor and director spared no detail on his horrible past -- he talked about everything from past sexual abuse to violent beatings from his father.

Perry's most upsetting revelation? He attempted suicide as a depressed and broken young man.

Molested by four different people

Perry told Oprah that he was sexually molested by four separate adults in his life -- the first when he was just five or six years old. He went on to say that his first sexual experience came at the age of 10 when a friend's mother locked him in a room and pulled him on top of her.

Father's abuse

Perry's father seemingly directed all of his anger toward his young son, beating him on a near-daily basis. He recalled one instance when his father savagely beat him for improperly changing a flat tire -- an event he cites as the end of his childhood.

He said he daydreamed to keep the pain away, telling Oprah that he imagined running away into a field of grass.

"I couldn't get the little boy to come back to me. I think I died that day."

And in a way, he did die. Perry changed his name from Emmitt Perry Jr to Tyler Perry to avoid carrying on his father's name.

He eventually forgave his father in his twenties, though his father never apologized.

"Anger is good," Perry told Oprah. "Bitterness is not."

Suicide attempt

The most shocking of Perry's revelations was that he attempted suicide as a teen by slitting his wrist. Fighting tears, Perry said his mother was the person who ultimately kept him alive.

"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," he said. "If I had not had that faith in my life, I don't know where I would be right now."

Speaking out to help others

Perry's intimate Oprah interview had a purpose, he said. He wants to help open the eyes of other men affected by abuse -- and his tell-all interview with Oprah was just the start of his work, he said.

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Comments on "Tyler Perry on Oprah: I was severely abused"

dinadiva August 19, 2011 | 12:40 PM

im so sorry 2 hear that:(

karen March 28, 2011 | 12:38 PM

Forgiveness is good but do we really forgive or do we just block it out? I am a woman dealing with being molested at a young age and homeless with kids at 15 I just do not understand how to forgive after you go through all that...Tyler keep your head high and I am trying to do the same . Thank you for being a testomony to us...

Katey December 23, 2010 | 4:50 PM

Tyler, I think you are the most amazing person. everything you've been through is so inspirational. I think it's amazing how you turned all of your bad experiences into plays or movies. You're movies are amazing! you're an amazing person!

Mel October 21, 2010 | 9:22 AM

This is a very touching story of how you overcame such a challenging childhood. No 10-year-old should go through what you (and many others like you)had to go through. I believe these events made you a much stronger person. I went through being abused, but it was later in life. I have learned that you can use those experiences to make life better or they can be an excuse to make it worse. Thank God that you -and I- used them to grow spiritually and there are many blessings to be had. May God bless you and I pray that you will continue to bless others by what you have accomplished through God's love.

Cheryl Jamison October 21, 2010 | 8:05 AM

Thank you Tyler for sharing with us. My mom and oldest sister was ually molested by my moms aunt who lived to be a ripe old age of 99. She never owned up to what she did or apologize for her actions. She even professed to be a Christian before she died. My mom and sister forgave her but they never forgot what happened to them. I pray for people in that situation. I am a Gospel singer serving the Lord. My music is on youtube, myspace, facebook and other sites. My mom is a strong woman of the Lord who has encouraged me to sing and serve God inspite of any situation. God Bless You Tyler

Jacqueline October 21, 2010 | 7:37 AM

Wow Tyler you are an inspiration. Not only to women but men as well. Keep it up Tyler. Jehovah bless you!!!

shelly October 21, 2010 | 7:10 AM

Thanks for sharing your story Tyler...Abuse is never pleasant & what people who abuse others,whether verbally,physically,mentally,ually or ANY other way,don't realize is that it stays with u forever! You don't know how many lives u saved by sharing your story! If you're out there & you're being abused...find a way to get help! Please! It could save your life! Many abused or hurt people attempt to take their own lives because they feel ugly,unwanted & unloved...but please don't! Reach out for help! Like Tyler,God has a bigger plan & purpose for your life that exceeds that mean,abusive,nasty person who may have hurt u! Suppose Tyler was successful in killing himself when he cut his wrist? We would not have Madea who makes us forget our problems at times & laugh instead! Look at his great movies,plays,etc. What awesome talent! People still say negative things..but we don't measure life by Negativity but instead by Accomplishments...and he has Much to his credit!!! Again thank u Tyler! U are an awesome human being & my sincere wish for u is all the Blessings that God's store house can hold upon u! Keep doing what you're doing!!! Blessings & Love!!

Melody October 21, 2010 | 6:48 AM

Tyler my heart go out to you i have been in that same household where my mother beated me all the time and my father showed me unconditional love.Then one day i was rape by a man in my neighbor hood everybody know who it was but didnt tell me. And that's how i entertain myself by telling jokes

Charlotte October 21, 2010 | 5:34 AM

I have the highest regard for you for being so brave. Your story has enabled everyone who has ever been abused, ually or physically, to be able to open up about their own experiences. May God continue to Bless you always.

gladys johnson October 21, 2010 | 4:01 AM

dear mr perry the person you described in your enterview was my dad, he was a of a man and love to beat my mother and my siblings as well it seemed like he get strenght in hurting others, he never smiled or laughed as i can remember, it takes its toll on you as a adult, his abuse is passed on mentally , but it is something you will never forget, you strive to overcome all the negative things and find happiness in yourself, tyler you dont have anything to prove. you are at the top of your game, you are a genius, and when the right love comes into your life no questions, doubts, secon thoughts will be there because you have been ther done that, you know how to get in touch with your emotions and still be a man. i do admire you for being the man you have become, when it comes down to it you are a better person because of you father, it dont take any energy to be nice because if love is in your heart it will show, i always say this to myself daily when it comes to others" never trouble trouble til trouble troubles you, live tyler be happy you deserve it god bless you in everything you do love gladys

Alicia October 21, 2010 | 3:22 AM

Thank you for sharing Tyler my cousins abused me for yeard older male and older female but i'm here God is goign to make my life a living testimony I say use me Lord just use me any whay you feel. When i told to teens or other women i feel their pain but i say i'm still here and so are they. when my compnay take off I wish you would come speak to us but if not God get us. You still here tyler and God has made that which was bad into something oh so beautiful thank you love you man for sharing.

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