Tyler Perry recently spoke candidly with T.I. on his podcast “Expeditiously” about how he came up with Madea, his success and, in a rare instance, his relationship.
T.I. interviewed the fellow Atlanta dweller behind the recent Netflix hit “Fall From Grace” in a podcast posted March 20. In their conversation, Perry talked about his early start with plays in New Orleans. He revealed he produced, wrote and directed his first production in 1992. He credits the church and black women to his mediocre rise in plays and admitted he thought his success would stop at stage productions.
“I never felt like anybody would take me seriously in the movies,” he told the “Whatever You Like” rapper.
Perry said he introduced Madea after seeing Eddie Murphy’s success with the “The Nutty Professor” franchise. With inspiration from an elderly aunt, who still lives in Texas, Perry introduced the character in a stage play in the mid-1990s.
“I was scared to death the first time I did it,” adding he didn’t want to wear the signature body suit, wig and house dress. “The audience loved it.”
He said he moved into movies to “elevate” the productions in the way of scene design, sound and presentation.
On life with his family
Though he did not expound much on his love life during the interview, Perry alluded to his longtime relationship with Gelila Bekele, who is the mother to his son Aman, 5.
T.I. joked that Perry’s fans and admirers want to see him share his life with someone, and the media mogul quickly corrected him on his relationship status.
“A lot of people want to know why Tyler ain’t tied the knot,” T.I. said during the interview.
Perry quickly responded.
“I have someone who is wonderful, and she’s getting her share of all of it,” he said, presumably referring to Bekele. He went on to say why he chooses to keep his family out of the spotlight.
“Even my son, being in the public ... She and I are really good about that, making sure at 5 years old, he’s protected, he’s clear about who he is before people start telling him who he is. I’m good with that.”
Aman has not been seen by the public, but Bekele, who is a former model and filmmaker, is occasionally present at premieres and other events.
Perry said his next major project will be building a shelter for battered women and LGBTQ youth on his expansive 330-acre Fort McPherson.
Listen to the entire podcast episode here.
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