After watching a screening of the new movie Precious - which centers on a teenage girl struggling to overcome mental and physical abuse - comedian Tyler Perry said "a large part of my childhood had just played out before my eyes."
Perry then revealed he was sexually and physically abused as a child.
"I always thought I would die before I grew up," Perry, 40, wrote in a letter to fans on his Web site, before recounting the various abuse he suffered.
One night, he says his father "came home mad at the world. He was drunk, as he was most of the time. He got the vacuum cleaner extension cord, trapped me in a room and beat me until the skin was coming off my back."
He says a neighbor woman molested him at age 10 and that his grandmother tried to to rid him of his allergies by giving him "a bath in ammonia."
"She said she was going to kill these germs on me once and for all," Perry recalled of an incident that surely scarred him for life in multiple ways.
Tyler Perry is going public with a painful part of his past.
Watching Precious - which he produced, along with Oprah Winfrey, "hit me so hard. I sat there in tears realizing that somehow, by the grace of God, I made it through. My tears were tears of joy, being thankful that I made it."
Like Mackenzie Phillips, Tyler Perry hopes his tales of hardship will help those who suffered similar (and worse) abuses in their formative years.
Looking back, Perry says his faith has gotten him through tough times. "Forgiveness has been my weapon of choice. It has helped to free me."
"If you're having a hard time getting over something in your life, maybe you can try forgiveness too. It's not easy, but it does bring forth healing."
Talk about a painful story but also an inspiring message from a guy who's obviously overcome a lot to achieve a strong career doing what he loves.