Sun | Dec 8, 2019

Tyler Perry talks politics and poverty

Published:Monday | November 11, 2019 | 12:19 AM
Film-maker/actor Tyler Perry at a ceremony honouring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles last month.
Film-maker/actor Tyler Perry at a ceremony honouring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles last month.

Tyler Perry was “running from poverty” during the early years of his career.

The 50-year-old star – who is now one of the best paid men in the entertainment industry – has admitted that his relentless worth ethic stems from his ­modest beginnings in New Orleans.

Perry – who has been with his partner, model Gelila Bekele, since 2009 – shared: “For 10, maybe 15 years, I got lost in the madness of it. I didn’t want to date, I didn’t want kids, I didn’t want anything until I’d reached a place where I felt financially comfortable. I was running from poverty.”

Asked whether he now feels financially comfortable, he told the Times newspaper: “No. I still feel unsafe, like I’m still too close to it.

“I know, it’s crazy. I could stop working right now, live the rest of my life and never have to worry about a penny, but I still feel like I’m not far enough away.”

Despite his fame and influence, Tyler doesn’t have any desire to move into the political world.

The film-maker said his attitude towards politics is similar to that of his showbiz pal Oprah Winfrey, who has also been urged to become more involved in decision-making.

He explained: “For the same reason Oprah wouldn’t: the nastiness of it, the dirtiness of it, the lies.

“Everyone who goes into it who really wants to do good gets eaten alive. It’s just such a dark and nasty business, especially right now – I’ve never seen anything like this in my 50 years.

“It would cost too much for my soul, life, spirit. I watched first-hand what Michelle and Barack went through. Seeing the toll that took on them, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”