Like so many performers, though, all that creativity stemmed from a troubled past. One that he spoke in depth to Oprah about when he visited her show on Wednesday.
The writer-director opened up and reveled that his own father beat him brutally as a child, including an incident when his father whipped him with a vacuum cord.
“To this day, I don’t know why he did it,” Perry told Oprah. “But I remember him cornering me in a room and hitting me with this vacuum cleaner cord. He would just not stop.”
Daydreaming helped the future star cope.
“Every time somebody was doing something to me that was horrible, that was awful, I could go to this park in my mind until it was over,” Perry says.
Unfortunately, it didn’t just stop at physical abuse. Perry says he was also sexually abused by four different adults, beginning when he was five or six years old. He told Oprah that his first sexual experience came from when a man he knew from his church performed oral sex on him.
This lead Perry to slit his wrists in an attempt to commit suicide.
He never came out to anyone about these atrocities because he didn’t want to hurt his mother. After her death last year, however, Perry feels freer to discuss his tormented past.
“I feel this tremendous sense of, ‘Now it’s time for me to take care of me and get some of this stuff out of me and be free from it.’”
As most things in life, forgiveness has helped him begin to heal.
“I forgave him,” Perry says of his father. “The same amount of strength to take it is the same amount of strength it takes to let it go. As a man I am not going to sit here and let myself suffer anymore.”
Perry newest movie For Colored Girls is in theatres now.