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Tyler Perry says he was sexually abused as a child, once attempted suicide

10/21/2010 by Corinne Heller

Tyler Perry speaks on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' on Oct. 20, 2010. (Photo courtesy of Harpo, Inc) Tyler Perry has revealed that as a child, he was abused physically by his father, sexually molested by other adults and tried to commit suicide.

Speaking on The Oprah Winfrey Show recently, Perry, a 41-year-old director and star of the film Why Did I Get Married? called his earlier years a "living hell". He added that he has since forgiven him and now helps him financially.

"To this day, I don't know why he did it," Perry said. "But I remember him cornering me in a room and hitting me with this vacuum cleaner cord. He would just not stop. There are all these welts ... the flesh that's coming from my bone, and I had to wait for him to go to sleep. When he fell asleep, I ran to my aunt's house, and she was mortified when she saw it."

Perry said a male neighbor, a male nurse, a man at his church and the mother of one of his friends molested him sexually when he was a child, beginning when he was 5 or 6 years old. Perry said that abuse by his father and other adults became so severe that one day, he slit his wrists.

"I thought, 'What is the point of living?'" Perry said. "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."

His past abuse has confused him sexually and affected his adult relationships with women, Perry said, adding that he is often reminded of the painful memories when he is with them.

Nowadays, Perry rarely speaks to his father but says he has forgiven him and sends him a check every month.

"The same amount of strength to take it is the same amount of strength it takes to let it go," he said. "It's like fire. It's cleansing."

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