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Tyler Perry on Oprah: I was severely abused

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

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's painful past

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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