Tyler Perry is getting candid about what made him forgive the alcoholic father that physically abused him throughout his childhood.
Today, Tyler is a world-renowned filmmaker, actor, director, and all-round movie mogul, but growing up for him was an occasional nightmare of abuse from his father, Emmitt Perry.
Speaking to PEOPLE for their latest issue, Tyler admitted that he never "felt safe or protected as a child." He revealed that Emmitt, a construction contractor, once beat him so severely with a vacuum cord that the skin came off his back.
"He has shelter -- pretty nice shelter -- and any food that he wants to eat."
Tyler’s mom, Maxine Perry, who passed in 2009, was the rainbow in her son’s darkness, but even she couldn’t protect herself from the abuse. The "Madea" creator shared a close bond with her and still mourns her death to this day.
Forgiving Emmitt for all the pain, however, took a lot from Tyler, 50. The "Good Deeds" actor explained how it panned out:
"[It took] a tremendous amount of prayer. But the biggest thing that helped me understand it is that me holding on to what I was holding on to wasn’t hurting him…but it was killing me. …The shift and forgiveness in me left me raw because it was a weight inside. Once I let it go, I literally felt lighter inside."
Tyler has always been vocal about the painful childhood he endured and how he coped through it to become the success he is today. According to ILOSM, the producer once recalled a time when Emmitt had he and Maxine arrested.
As the story goes, Tyler’s mother had been fed up with the abuse meted out to her and the kids. Maxine reportedly drove them all from Louisiana to California in the family car, only for Emmitt to call the cops and report the vehicle as stolen.
Tyler revealed that after Emmitt picked them up from the county jail, he beat Maxine the entire ride home. Despite so much cruelty, the "Gone Girl" actor continues to support his father financially.
It wasn’t until after his mother’s death that Tyler would find out that Emmitt wasn’t his biological father, per Bravo. That revelation reportedly helped him make more sense of all the anger and hatred Emmitt threw his way.
As for why he still takes care of Emmitt, Tyler told Oprah’s Master Class in 2017:
"Number one, my mother asked me to because she loved him. And secondly, as terrible as he was, and as horrible as he was, he never once left us. We were never hungry. And every time he’d go to work all week, he’d bring all the money home. In return, I’m giving him what he gave to me. I had shelter. I had food. He has shelter -- pretty nice shelter -- and any food that he wants to eat."
And at the end of the day, Tyler shared with Variety, coping with abuse as a child helped him hone his craft with the ability to create and disappear into different worlds.
"A few years ago, I realized that when I sit down to write a story, I’m in that world. I’m using that same thing that was a curse, which I now see as a gift," said Tyler, who recently received his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
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