Director Tyler Perry opened up on the Oprah show about being molested and abused as a child.
Tyler Perry, the “Why Did I Get Married” director, opened up about the molestation and abuse he suffered as a child.
The now-successful director said his upbringing was “a living hell” and stated “I feel like I died as a child.”
Tyler was beaten by his father but says he used his imagination to escape. “I could go to this park [in my mind] that my mother and my aunt had taken me to. … I’m there in this park running and playing, and it was such a good day,” he says. “So, every time somebody was doing something to me that was horrible, that was awful, I could go to this park in my mind until it was over.”
He got to a point he slit his wrists in a suicide attempt. “I thought, ‘What is the point of living?’” he says. “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.”
He wasn’t only abused physically but also sexually by four different adults.
Tyler says he was 5 or 6 years old the first time he was molested. He was building a birdhouse with an adult male neighbor, and the man put his hands in Tyler’s pants.
He said he was later molested by a male nurse and a man he knew from church. “[The man from church] used God and the Bible against me to justify a lot of the things that were going on. It was so horrible,” Tyler says. “And that was my first sexual experience, with this man performing oral sex on me as a boy.”
His first sexual experience with a woman was when a friend of his mother’s. Tyler had been playing with the woman’s son when she seduced him.
He said, “I hear arguing from the living room, she comes in… We were in the bedroom. She throws him in the bathroom and says, ‘You need to take a bath and go to bed,’ and she tells me to go home, and I go to the door to try and unlock the door… and I couldn’t unlock it.
“She lays on the sofa and spreads her legs – I didn’t know she was wearing lingerie at the time – and I said, ‘I have to go home…’ And she lights a cigarette and she takes the key… and I come over to get it and she puts it inside of herself (vagina) and she tells me to get it, so I get the key but I feel my body betraying me… because I felt an erection.
“She pulled me on top of her and I was inside of her, so my first sexual experience with a woman… that was it.”
Perry said that sexual encounter stayed with him as he became older.
He explains, “I was so awkward… I didn’t know there were these triggers… I was with this girl and we were about to get into it (have sex) and she locks the door – click, click, click – I wasn’t able to make the connection, so she’s wondering what is wrong with me; I’m wondering what is wrong with me… I could not perform. I went from being stimulated and ready to go to not being able to perform.
“There is this next situation, where I’m with another woman that I really, really cared about… and she comes in the room, one day sex is great, the next day lingerie… it’s, ‘What is this?’ And I never made the connection to this.”
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