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Tyler Perry lets go on 'Oprah' about beatings, molestation, healing

October 21, 2010 |  4:37 pm

Tyler Perry Tyler Perry opened up Wednesday in detail about the childhood abuse he suffered, telling Oprah Winfrey on her show that the death of his mother last December was the turning point that has allowed him to go public.

"She suffered so much horror in her life ... and I just could not be a source of pain," he told Winfrey. "I knew if I spoke about this [while she was alive], that she would be hurt. So I didn't. ... I feel this tremendous sense of, 'Now it's time for me to take care of me and get some of this stuff out of me and be free from it.'"

Perry described physical abuse from his father and sexual molestation from four adults of both sexes before age 10 — his body "betraying" him, the abuse leaving him confused, ashamed and never feeling safe.

"All of these people had given me something to carry ... ," Perry said. "What I started to do is untie the strings and chase them down to where they came from. And I was able to free myself and understand that even though these things happened to me, it was not me."

Watching an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" years ago got him started on his journey when he began writing down what had happened to him, he said, and he hopes his story will encourage other men to speak out and heal.

Citing exhaustion and calling the "Madea's Happy Family Tour" his most special ever, Perry on Oct. 13 announced the cancellation of some shows on the production's encore leg, which was to have begun Tuesday.

"I feel terrible about this and hope you can understand but right now I'm not capable of giving you the show you want and deserve," he said on his website. "I hope one day soon I will be able to make it up to you."

— Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Tyler Perry at the opening of "Madea Goes to Jail" in New York on Feb. 18, 2009. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Tyler Perry's mother dies at 64; Willie Maxine inspired Madea character

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