Tyler Perry has used his voice for many things. The focus lately for the mogul has been on forgiveness. During a recent conversation with Killer Mike on the Revolt TV series Love & Respect with Killer Mike, Perry discussed what he’s taken from his tumultuous experience while growing up with his father.
Madea character Tyler Perry was born Emmitt Perry Jr. in New Orleans to parents Emmitt Sr. and Maxine Perry. Before becoming the successful multi-faceted Hollywood force and owner of major film studio Tyler Perry Studios, Perry’s beginnings were rough and filled with turmoil. The star of A Madea Family Funeral once told People TV‘s “The Jess Cagle Interview” that he had a childhood that “wasn’t pleasant” due to years of physical abuse at the hands of his father, among other traumatic experiences.
Tyler Perry attributed his father’s problematic behavior to having many “issues” within himself. His father’s upbringing involved being “abandoned” according to Perry – as well as numerous frightening episodes with him and his siblings at the hand of his guardian. Perry Sr. would transfer much of that trauma and aggression to his children, prompting his son to legally change his first name to Tyler at the age of 16 in an attempt to “distance himself from his father,” BIOGRAPHY reports.
In a separate interview with PEOPLE, Tyler Perry expressed that he never felt “safe or protected” while growing up. Due to his father’s ongoing alcohol use, the attacks would persist. But it was not easy for his mother to uproot their family from his father’s awful ways as he was actively providing for the family in the financial department.
Years later, Perry would discover a family secret that had been withheld from him. In an interview at Radio One’s 2014 Women’s Empowerment Expo Conference, the actor revealed that he had always had suspicions of whether Emmitt Perry Sr. was his biological father. According to Tyler Perry, his mother’s death prompted him to proceed with a DNA test with one of his siblings. The results would show that they did not share the same biological father, and after a subsequent test with Perry Sr., the Madea star discovered he was not his father. Tyler Perry was reported to state that although he loves his mother “to death, she lied to me.”
Despite the struggles that Tyler Perry faced at the hands of the man who raised him, he could forgive him over the years. Referring back to his father’s extreme and brutal upbringing, Perry realized he wasn’t equipped to be a compassionate and kind father. But once Perry was able to pinpoint why his fatherly figure was the way he was, it helped him get over his past struggles. Realizing that his father’s childhood experiences were “way more horrific than mine,” Perry was able to forgive him. He said the process took a “tremendous amount of prayer,” but he has since felt the affliction being lifted off of him.
Recently, speaking with Killer Mike, Tyler Perry revealed that he still takes care of his father. According to the screenwriter, his father receives a monthly check from him and lives in a house bought by Tyler Perry, although they do not speak. Perry claims his father always made sure they had food on the table, and the lights were never turned off, despite the damage caused. With that being said, Perry says he gives him the same in return because he doesn’t know what kind of man he would have become if he had never seen his father work to provide.