Tyler Perry Tells Oprah: Sexual Abuse Left Me Suicidal And Sexually Confused

Movies & TV

RI Reeves / October 21, 2010

Just weeks before his latest film For Colored Girls—which documents some of the struggles and plights of the black woman experience—opens in theaters, film mogul Tyler Perry appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and spoke to the Daytime Queen about his own troubled young life which included a suicide attempt, plus surviving physical and sexual abuse as a child.

Perry, who according the Forbes list, is now the 2nd richest man in Hollywood after James Cameron, recounted to Oprah Winfrey that in his early years he was physically abused by his father regularly sometimes to the point of blacking out. And, he was sexually molested by three men and one woman all before the age of ten. “It was a living hell,” Perry said of his early years.

The Madea star said the traumatic experience led him to slit his wrist in an attempt to commit suicide. And once Perry got past that period in his life, the sexual abuse he endured as a child left him a sexually confused man. Perry said his adult relationships with women suffered after he was molested by the mother of a childhood friend. And he describes the adult aftershocks of one of his male sex abusers this way, “He gave me something to carry that I didn’t want, that I didn’t desire. And thank God, somewhere along the way, I found what you feed will grow in your life, and what you don’t will starve,” says Perry of his sexuality.

For Colored Girls opens in theaters on November 5th. —Ronke Idowu Reeves