‘My Father Would Beat the Hell Out of Me’: Tyler Perry Recalls Emotional Moment of Disciplining His Son, Says He Wishes His Own Parents Had Shown Him Compassion

Fatherhood has afforded Tyler Perry an opportunity to reassess his own childhood.

In a recent appearance on Michelle Obama’s new podcast, “Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast,” he opened up about how his approach to parenting differs from that of his own parents.

Michelle shared that Barack was deliberate in the ways he showed up for their daughters, Sasha and Malia, making sure he did not perpetuate some of the behaviors of the fathers he saw while growing up. The entertainment titan understood the former president’s sentiment.

Michelle Obama and Tyler Perry. Photo: Tylerperry/Instagram

“I realized I didn’t have an example, and my father would beat the hell out of me every chance he got,” said the “Madea” mastermind. Tyler, 53, said his father, Emmitt Perry Sr., called him a jackass every day of his life. 

“That’s what I heard all the time. But one day — being a writer helped me find my catharsis in a lot of things — and so all the things that my father was doing, I realized he was teaching me how to be a father, just in reverse,” he explained.

Michelle pointed out that his story of disciplining his son, Aman Perry, was proof that he was doing things differently than his own father had. Tyler and his ex Gelila Bekel, whom he dated for a decade, welcomed their only child in 2014. They reportedly split in 2020.

Tyler recalled, “I walk in the room, and you know we have a nanny who was helping us out, and he’s just giving them the business; he didn’t want to brush his teeth.”  At the time, Aman was about 5 or 6 years old. Unbeknownst to the child, the mogul was at the door watching him act out.

“I watched him for a minute, and then I had the nanny leave, and I got down eye-to-eye and I was talking to him,” said the “Alex Cross” actor. He told his son, “Listen to me, you are not going to be this way. We love you. We are your parents. You will not behave this way. We taught you better than this. You are a better kid than this. You’re going to be a better man than this.”

Tyler said he became emotional in that moment with his son, just as he did while sharing the story on Michelle’s podcast. “You not gone Oprah me right now right now, this is about you,” he jokingly told the former first lady.

He continued, “I had to leave the room, and you know, he said, ‘I’m sorry Papa, I’m sorry.’ He brushed his teeth and did all those things. But I went out on the balcony, I was in tears because I realized nobody had ever talked, got down and talked to me eye to eye, and had a conversation to me that I could understand.”

Instead, the playwright said his parents resorted to yelling, cussing, and making disparaging remarks. But through his own fatherhood journey, he found the compassion he needed during his youth. 

“I had a chance to have a conversation with a child who’s my spitting image, I was not only correcting and leading him the right way but helping my own little boy inside of me heal,” noted Tyler. “It was a beautiful moment.”

Last year, the director shared an adorable story about Aman learning that his dad is famous. Tyler said they were coloring when he asked the 7-year-old if he knew what it meant to be famous. “Yeah, it’s when a lot of people know your name,” Aman responded.

Tyler then told his son that, based on that definition, people consider him to be famous. However, his son was unfazed and simply asked to return to coloring. The New Orleans native has yet to reveal if Aman understands that his godmother, Oprah Winfrey, is more famous than him.

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