The list of multi-talented Americans will not be complete without the name Tyler Perry on such a list. For lovers of movies and entertainment as a whole, the name does ring a bell – if not several bells.
Tyler Perry Bio/Early Life
Tyler Perry is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, writer, and songwriter, with a speciality in the gospel genre. Born on September 13, 1969, as Emmitt Perry Jr., he is a middle child, with two older sisters and a younger brother. His mother was a church-goer who usually took Perry along with her once a week and his father was a carpenter who abused Perry leading to his suffering from depression as a teenager.
According to Tyler, he had to endure years of abuse by his father whose answer to everything was to ‘beat it out of you.’ He even attempted suicide at some point in an effort to escape his difficult situation. At the age of 16, he changed his first name to Tyler to separate himself from his father.
Perry dropped out of high school at the time but eventually went back to earn a general equivalency diploma (GED). In the bid to find his way professionally, Perry did several unfulfilling jobs before discovering his true passion.
His rise to stardom began in 1991 when he saw an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) discussing the therapeutic nature of writing. This inspired him to begin writing and he worked through his bad experiences by writing letters to himself.
He later put his letters into a play, I Know I’ve Changed, – a play about domestic abuse. Unfortunately, after renting a theater in Atlanta to stage the play, he failed to attract as much audience as he desired. In 1998, he got a second chance to stage his play again and this time, the play was sold-out and drew attention from investors.
The play was first staged at the House of Blues in Atlanta, Georgia, in the summer of 1998 and sold out eight times in a row. Two weeks later, the play was moved to the Fox Theater in the same city where it continued to sell out—this time selling out a much larger arena since the Fox featured around 4,000 seats.
Interestingly, this was not the end of the show’s success as the play went on to gross several million dollars. It also brought the world of African-American theater into a more favorable light with theatre goers and critics alike. What was once known by the rather derogatory term “Chitlin Circuit,” began to be called “urban theater,” all thanks to Tyler Perry and his play.
The success of I Know I’ve Changed, opened the doors to a whole new world for Perry. Bishop T. D. Jakes came to one of the shows in Dallas and afterwards, invited Perry to become involved in the play Woman, Thou Art Loosed, a project Jakes had been working on and looking to find someone to help with. Perry agreed to do so with the condition that he would be allowed to rewrite the play, produce and direct it. Bishop Jakes gave him the go-ahead. When the show eventually opened in 1999, it was a huge success. It made more than $5 million in just five months.
With 17 feature films, 20 stage plays, seven television shows, a New York Times bestselling book to his credit, Tyler has built an empire that has attracted audiences and built communities from the Tyler Perry Studios home base in Atlanta, Georgia.
Is Tyler Perry Gay?
Perry’s sexual orientation has been an issue of debate for a very long time, although Perry has not publicly denied the rumors whether he is gay or not, the rumors have persisted with many coming out with what they perceive as shreds of evidence to prove he isn’t straight.
A report suggested that “his mannerisms and aura are such that everyone within a mile of his finery seems to say, “He’s a gay!” So, assuming the gaydar of the millions is on target as usual, why won’t the guy come out already?”
Some theoretical assumptions also suggest that his history of hiring muscular guys for his plays and films are a sure sign of his sexuality, the fact that he dresses up in woman’s clothing, for entertainment value, could be another pointer to his sexual orientation. Some time ago, a man named Walter Lee Hampton II posted a video on YouTube claiming Perry was once “a gay black man” who has since abandoned the gay community.
He also detailed his complex and close relationship with Tyler, who he said is scared his popular Madea stage performances would not continue to garner financial and critical success if he came out.
“No one can know that I’m gay,” Tyler allegedly told Walter. “If people find out I’m gay, I’m going to lose the support of black church members.”
He also claims Tyler Perry stole the idea for Madea from a drag queen show. But after the release of the video, he was allegedly attacked by a group of men and received 120 stitches after suffering damage to his face.
In 2016, Tyler Perry added his voice to Hollywood’s chorus urging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to reject a bill that discriminates against the LGBT community.
“At Tyler Perry Studios, we believe in inclusion and equality for all people,” a spokesperson for his studios had said. “We do not tolerate bigotry, division, and discrimination,” he added.
Until Tyler Perry voices out his sexual orientation, it is not yet clear if he is gay or not, so for now, we just have to keep our fingers crossed that he is not.
Is Tyler Perry Married? Wife/Son
One of the theoretical assumptions that served as a justification for people’s claim that Perry is gay is the fact that he is a very successful man in his forties and is still single with no children.
But that is not entirely true because although Perry is not married, he has been in a longtime relationship with model Gelila Bekele. The couple has been together since 2009.
In 2014, it was announced that Perry and Bekele were expecting their first child together. The child turned out to be a son (Aman) born on November 30, 2014.
Perry and Bekele generally keep their son out of the public eye. Explaining the reason for their decision while on The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Perry said since his son is not famous himself, so he does not think he should share photos of him on social media.
He also said that his son will have to work for his money when he gets older.
Tyler Perry’s Houses
Perry is well known among celebrity property gossips for his unabashed penchant for extraordinarily large homes. He owns a 25,545-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles which he custom built on 22.5 acres in the ritzy, guard-gated Beverly Ridge Estates enclave in Beverly Hills. In his home base of Atlanta, where the Tyler Perry Studios is located, he owns “Avec Chateau,” a not quite 17,000-square-foot mansion in Fairburn, GA, which he also custom built on 11.4 acres he purchased in the spring of 2001 for $62,661.
In 2005, he bought the baronial spread for $9 million, set it out for sale over the summer of 2015 at $25 million and sold it almost exactly a year later for $17.5 million. In 2016, he sold one of his Atlanta area mega-mansions, an opulent and conspicuously colossal 34,688-square-foot extravaganza about 10 miles north of downtown Atlanta on 17 acres that borders the Chattahoochee River.
In 2017, he acquired another multi-million dollar high-maintenance mansion for $14.5 million. The glass-walled architectural high mansion which is pitched between Beverly Hills and Studio City is 17,245 square feet and comes with 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. The flamboyant residence, which arguably gives off more than a subtle vibe of an upscale suburban office building, was long owned by billionaire aerospace entrepreneur and philanthropist Alfred E. Mann who passed on at 90 in early 2016.
Tyler Perry’s Net Worth/Height
In 2011 Perry was the highest paid man in entertainment; he earned US$130 million between May 2010 and 2011. With new shows lined up, along with older successful shows, his net worth is currently estimated to be $600 million and his salary $80 million.
Tyler Perry is not the tallest in Hollywood but he is certainly one of those considered tall in the industry – he is about 6ft 4.25in i.e 193.7 cm tall.