On Tuesday’s episode of The Oprah Show the talented actor, producer, comedian and philanthropist Tyler Perry admits his childhood abuse, both sexually and physically. He describes it as “a living hell.”
Tyler confessed that he thought his father hated him, brutally beating him as a child, on many occasions, for no reason.
“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 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.”
Living in fear and “hell” as he describes it, Tyler admits to slitting his wrist and attempting 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.”
Tyler discusses being confused about his sexuality.
How could it not? I knew I liked the little girls in the neighborhood, but this man was doing something to me and my body kept betraying me. It took me all of my 20s to figure out what this was that this man had given me to carry inside of my heterosexuality that did not belong to me. This is why so many men will not talk about this—the shame of having to admit that.
A tearful Tyler, good friends with Oprah, who has also suffered from sexual abuse, thanked her 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.
Tyler says he has forgiven his father but no longer wants him in his life.
Following his appearance on the show his father allegedly sent him a text saying,
“If I had beat your ass one more time, you probably would have been Barack Obama.”
Wow! What a heavy burden to carry around.