updated 10/06/2009 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 10/06/2009 AT 10:10 AM ET
There’s nothing funny about Tyler Perry’s latest work: a revealing account of the horrific abuse he suffered as a child.
“I always thought I would die before I grew up,” the comedian writes in an uncharacteristically somber letter to fans on his Web site.
After watching a screening of the lauded movie Precious, which he executive produced with Oprah Winfrey, about a 16-year-old girl who is physically and emotionally abused, the New Orleans native, 40, best known for his comic Madea character, reveals a flood of memories came back, and that “a large part of my childhood had just played out before my eyes.”
Beginning with his mother’s failed attempt to leave his abusive father, Perry recounts a horrific list of beatings and hardships he suffered.