Tyler Perry Supports His Father Financially Despite What He Says Was an Abusive Childhood

Tyler Perry worked hard to create his media empire. He’s known for producing movies for the Madea franchise as well as TV shows such as Meet the Browns and The Oval.

Although he obtained career success, he admits he wasn’t as lucky when it came to his childhood, which he says was not ideal. Here’s why Perry chooses to support his father despite growing up in what he says was an abusive household.  

Tyler Perry says he suffered abuse at the hands of his father

Tyler Perry wears a white jacket and black shirt and stands in front of a flower wall.
 Tyler Perry | Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images

Perry talks about the strained relationship he has with his father. During Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? on HBO Max, he reveals what his childhood was like. Chris Wallace discusses Perry’s “dramatic” life story. He goes on to describe what Perry endured.

“There is no story that is more dramatic than your own life story and how you grew up in New Orleans, poor, and the victim of a father who you say literally would whip the flesh off your bones,” says Wallace. “And that at one point you attempted to commit suicide.”

Perry says he hasn’t spoken to his father in almost 13 years. However, he still provides for him financially. “I haven’t spoken to [my father] in probably about 12 or 13 years now,” says Perry. “But I take care of him; he gets a check. Every month. He lives in a house that I bought.”

Perry says he gives his father the financial stability that he gave him as a child. However, he doesn’t have a personal relationship with his father.

“We were never out on the streets,” says Perry. “The lights were never off. He worked very, very hard. He had an incredible work ethic. And I think I got that from him. And everything I am giving him now is what he gave me.”

When Wallace asks Perry about their relationship today, he says there isn’t one. He provides the checks and housing for his father, but it ends there. “Love, kindness, and relationship, no,” says Perry. “And I’m not doing that to be mean. It’s just I don’t have that with him.”

What Tyler Perry would say to his younger self

Wallace put up a picture of Perry as a young boy and asked him what he would say to his younger self. Perry admits it’s hard to look at his childhood photo. However, he says he would tell his younger self that everything will be OK. He takes the opportunity to talk to his son the way he wishes someone would have spoken to him.

“The great thing about having a child, now seven-year-old, is I get to say all those things that I didn’t get to say to my younger self,” says Perry. “So, I feel like it’s helping to heal a lot of wounds. But to let him know that he’s going to be OK.”

Perry says he would also tell his younger self that he will try to be the best he can be and make the lives of others better. “And he’s enduring things that he has no control over,” continues Perry. “But as a man, I will pay it forward, I will try to be as the best man that I can be because of what he endured. That’s what I would tell him.”

Tyler Perry says being a father has been ‘healing’

Perry has come to terms with not having the childhood he had dreamed of. He says being a father to his son has provided a means of “healing” for him as an adult.

“I’ve come to terms with it, but the beauty of it is having my son,” says Perry. Every time I say I love him, I feel that being said to the little boy in me. Every time I hug him, I feel like the little boy in me is being hugged. There’s something about having a child, especially when they’re at the age when you experienced the most abuse, that if you’re on the other side of it, it really speaks healing to you.”

How to get help: To connect with mental health resources near you, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

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