At age 16, he had his first name legally changed from Emmitt to Tyler in an effort to distance himself from his father. Many years later, after seeing the film “Precious” , he was moved to relate for the first time accounts of being by a friend’s mother at age 10; he was also molested by three men prior to this, and later learned his own father had molested his friend. A DNA test Perry took in 2010 stated that Emmitt Sr. was not Perry’s biological father.
As at now, Perry is known for both creating and performing as the Madea character; a no-nonsense, tough black woman. Perry also creates films, some produced as live recordings of stage plays, and others professionally filmed using full sets and locations with full editing. Perry is estimated to have earned around US$75 million by 2008. Many of Perry’s stage-play films have been subsequently adapted as professional films.
Perry has also created several television shows, his most successful of which is Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, a show that ran for eight seasons on TBS from June 21, 2006, to August 10, 2012. On October 2, 2012, Perry struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network. The partnership was largely for the purposes of bringing scripted television to the OWN network, Perry having had previous success in this department. Perry has created multiple scripted series for the network, the most successful being The Haves and the Have Nots. As of 2014, The Haves and the Have Nots has given OWN its highest ratings to date. The series has also been referred to as being “one of OWN’s biggest success stories with its weekly dose of soapy fun, filled with the typical betrayals, affairs, manipulations and a bitch slap or two.