One of the most interesting stories to come out of Harry & Meghan, is the revelation about the couple’s bond with filmmaker Tyler Perry. By now, it’s well known that the director graciously invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to stay at his home in southern California after their location and security was compromised following their exit from the royal family. What the Netflix docuseries revealed is how they’ve continued to stay in touch and how he became a trusted member of their family.
In Episode 6 of the series, Meghan explains how after their location in Canada was revealed and the royal family punished them by pulling Harry’s security, they didn’t know where they were going to go and how they would keep themselves safe. Then, like a port in the storm, a phone call between Meghan and Tyler, where he could sense how dire their situation was, led to him offering the family the use of his estate and arranging for security “as long as they needed it.” Perry said that he recognized how they were being psychologically abused by the royal family, with his own experiences making him sympathetic and supportive.
“This woman was abused. And so was he,” Perry said. “To use the institution to try and do all the things that a batterer would do—like, ‘Here’s what we’re gonna do: We’re gonna cut off the money, we’re gonna not leave you security, we’re gonna do all those things to make you comply and come back.’”
“And for the both of them to have the wherewithal to say, ‘I don’t give a damn if it’s the palace. I’m out of here.’ I applauded that,” the Madea actor added.
Perry joins Harry and Meghan for a walk around the grounds as they discuss how crazy things got once the press found out the couple was living at his estate. The A Jazzman’s Blues director states how multiple celebrities live in the area and no one had ever seen a media presence like what they experienced. Throughout their conversation it’s evident how comfortable they are with each other and how close they’ve all become. The depth of their connection is revealed as Perry describes a very important request he received from Harry and Meghan. He notes that their phone calls were usually just normal catching up type of stuff, but there was definitely something different this time around.
“I go, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’ They said, ‘Well, we’d like for you to be Lili’s godfather.’ I go, ‘Whoa,’” Perry said. “I had to take a minute to take that in. And I thought, ‘I’d be honored. I’d absolutely be honored.’”
As excited as he was for the honor to be Lilibet’s godfather, the writer/director did have some questions about the possible ceremony.
“I called them back and go, ‘Uh, hold on a second—does this mean we gotta go over [to England] and do all of that in church with [the royal family] and figure all that out? Cause I don’t wanna do that,’” he said. “’Maybe we can do a little private ceremony here and let that be that, and if you have to do it there, then that’s okay.’”
Along with the full Tyler Perry story, you can hear more about the duke and duchess’ exit from the royal family in Harry & Meghan, which is streaming on Netflix.