Wednesday, 7 October 2009
ARTIST NEWS: Tyler Perry opens up about childhood sexual abuse
In the midst of promoting the acclaimed new film Precious, which he co-produced with media titan Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry has opened up about childhood abuse he said he suffered at the hands of a female neighbour and a friend's father.
In a heartfelt letter to fans on his website, Perry earlier this week wrote, "I got a call not long ago from a friend. He told me that a man that I knew from church when I was a kid had died and he didn't have any insurance. His family was trying to reach out to me to see if I would pay for his funeral. I quickly said no, but I wish I would have said yes. There is something so powerful to me in burying the man that molested me. I wish I would have dug the grave myself."
The film and television mogul, known for his hilarious portrayal of the crowd-favourite character Madea, said a flood of memories from his childhood returned after he watched a screening of Precious, the story of a physically and emotionally abused 16-year-old girl. "He beat me mercilessly. We were at my Aunt's house and he came there about 1:00 am. Not long after that we were back at home. Nothing would compare to the random, drunken, violent beatings I would receive from then until I was 19.
Perry added that watching Precious helped him realize how much of a survivor he is. "It hit me so hard, I sat there in tears realizing that somehow, by the grace of God, I made it through," writes Perry. "My tears were tears of joy, being thankful that I made it."