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June 09, 2020

Tyler Perry's Parenting of Young Son Aman — What Is Known about His Fatherhood

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Actor, director, producer, and writer, Tyler Perry is notoriously protective of his privacy, but his pride in his son led him to lift the edge of the veil, and give fans a glimpse of Tyler Perry, family man.

Tyler Perry, 50, is the first Black man ever to own a studio, but what he considers his greatest achievement is still quite small -- his 5-year-old son Aman Tyler.

Perry welcomed Amal with the Ethiopian model, author and philanthropist Gelila Bekele on November 30, 2014, but the couple have never allowed any photos of their son to be published.

Perry's unswerving faith, he admits, is what got him through the darkest moments of his life, and now illuminates the brightest.

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TYLER PERRY'S ONLY CHILD

Amal is Perry and Bekele's only child, and the couple have never indicated that they intend to grow their family. According to doting dad Perry, Amal is enough of a handful and a joy. He said:

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“Even the things that are driving me crazy I love once he goes to sleep, because he’s just at that age where he’s very curious about everything.”

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This is that exasperating stage parents know so well -- the "Why?" -- and Perry seems to be dealing with it in the traditional way, answering until he can't outrun the questions. He revealed:

“This is the thing he does: ‘Can a cheetah beat a rancher? Can a cheetah beat a car? (...)’ By the time we go through all of, ‘Can a cheetah beat?’, I’m beat.”

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NIGHTMARISH CHILDHOOD

Perry, who was subjected to vicious physical and sexual abuse as a child, has confessed that fathering his son is continuously healing. The director revealed that every time he hugs his son and tells him he loves him, he is showing his younger self the affection and care he never received.

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Perry's father was a harsh man, verbally and physically abusive to both Perry, his siblings, and his mother. Perry feared that he would not have the know-how, the emotional resources to raise a child. Then he realized his father had given him the blueprint: the exact opposite of everything he'd ever done.

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FATHER TO SON

In complete contrast, Perry recounted an incident in which he overheard his son, then 5, berate his nanny in unpleasant terms. Perry called his son, and sat down to be at eye-level with him, and explained that Amal was not to treat his nanny -- or anyone -- in a manner that belittled them. Perry confessed:

“And I watched this child, who’s very smart, get it and apologize — apologize to the nanny, apologize to Mom, apologize to me. I watched this child get it and I had to rush out of the room." 

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As he was speaking to his son, Perry realized that no one had ever spoken to him on his level as a child. In fathering his son, he was fathering himself. He said:

“Gelila comes and she’s [like], ‘Are you okay?’ I’m in tears because nobody had ever spoken to me that way as a child. ”

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The young Perry suffered more than physical and verbal abuse; he was systematically sexually abused by three men and one woman, a horror that has prompted him to be active in the protection of children.

HERITAGE OF FAITH

One of Perry's plans for his huge Atlanta studio lot is the construction of a refuge for abused women, children, and LGBTQ youth, in which they can find safety, be offered training in the profession of their choice, and be given employment at Tyler Perry Studios if they so wish.

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Perry is passing on to Amal his legacy of faith, which he received from his own mother, Willie Maxine Perry, who desperately tried to protect her children, and couldn't.

Perry's unswerving faith, he admits, is what got him through the darkest moments of his life, and now illuminates the brightest.

It is this light of love, and faith that underlies Perry's work, and is reflected in his achievements -- including his relationship with his son.

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