Director Tyler Perry has officially joined the billionaire boys club, according to Forbes. The business magazine announced on Tuesday, Sept. 1, that the 50-year-old filmmaker was officially a billionaire and estimated Perry’s net worth to be $1 billion.
Forbes broke down Perry’s assets, which led him to his billionaire status. It revealed that the filmmaker has earned more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005, which he used to buy homes in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as two planes.
Other possessions include $300 million in cash and investments, a content library worth $320 million, his massive Atlanta studio, and multiple personal properties.
During an interview with the publication, which was published on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Perry said, “I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings. [It] means you were poor as hell.” He added, “Ownership changes everything.”
The “Madea’s Family Reunion” creator elaborated on those beginnings, speaking candidly about growing up in poverty and how he would make his mother laugh with impersonations. Perry also touched on his upbringing by an abusive man who he later learned was not his father. The NAACP Image Award winner said he was inspired to write about the stress he was feeling after watching an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
“You got to understand, I had no mentor,” Perry explained. “My father doesn’t know anything about business, and my uncles and mother, they know nothing about this. I didn’t go to business school. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned in progress.”
After dropping out of high school, the “Alex Cross” star gained knowledge any way he could. In his early 20s, he worked at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, home to the annual National Association of Television Program Executives conference. The aspiring filmmaker would use badges left behind in empty rooms to sneak into closed gatherings. For instance, he even met the game show host Pat Sajak.
The “Good Deeds” star would later go on to write scripts while selling cars and serving as a bill collector. He eventually saved up $12,000, which he used to rent space at a community theater in Atlanta to produce a play he had drafted in his spare time. But success barely came, and Perry found himself living out his car on and off while he tweaked the production.
After endless touring, Perry slowly garnered a strong following among the Black community, particularly among the churchgoing set — older women like his mother who had their shares of struggles and found solace in characters like Madea, the bad wig-wearing, slick-mouth grandmother.
In his early 30s, Perry met up with his now longtime pal, Oprah Winfrey, after she invited him on her talk show. After an exchange of words and some beneficial advice, as they say, the rest was history.