Tyler Perry – best known for his role as the primly Madea in his hit comic film series – has revealed that he was sexually and physically abused as a kid.
"I always thought I would die before I grew up," Perry, 40, writes in a letter to fans on his Web site.
After watching a screening of the movie Precious – which centers on a teen girl struggling to overcome mental and physical abuse – he says he realized "a large part of my childhood had just played out before my eyes."
Perry then recounts 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 and 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.
Watching Precious – which he executive produced, along with Oprah Winfrey - "hit me so hard," he writes.
"I sat there in tears realizing that somehow, by the grace of God, I made it through," he says. "My tears were tears of joy, being thankful that I made it."
Looking back, Perry says his faith has gotten him through the tough time. And he says he has learned to forgive.
"Forgiveness has been my weapon of choice," he says. "It has helped to free me."
Before signing off, he writes, "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.
"I know that there are a lot of people out there with stories far worse than mine but you, too, can make it," he says. "To those of you who have, welcome to life. I celebrate you. We're all PRECIOUS in [God's] sight."
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