In their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed that – after they were cut off by the Royal Family – it was US media mogul Tyler Perry who provided Harry and Meghan with a home and security in California in 2020.
So who is Tyler Perry and how did he become so successful?
The 51-year-old is a prolific film-maker, comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter.
His movies and TV shows have made him a household name in the US, especially among African Americans.
Mr Perry is perhaps most famous for his Madea films, which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in as the title character, an older woman, with the help of elaborate prosthetics. In 2015, he built a 330-acre (134-ha) movie studio outside of Atlanta, Georgia, helping to make the city a film-making destination.
And last year, he became a billionaire, according to Forbes Magazine. He made headlines a few months ago when he revealed he was going through a “mid-life crisis”, announcing he had split from his long-time girlfriend, and the mother of his only child, Gelila Bekele.
“I’m 51, single and wondering what the next chapter in my life will look like. Whatever it looks like I’m going to walk with God, be the best father and man I can be, hold my head up high, and try to look my best doing it!!” Mr Perry wrote in a post on his Instagram page.
“In a world with so much sadness, please try and stay in the good!”
How did Perry help Harry and Meghan?
Mr Perry offered for the couple to stay – reportedly for free – in one of his Hollywood mansions and use his security when they moved from Canada to Los Angeles in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in the two-hour CBS special aired in the US on Sunday.
The couple said they decided to leave after the location of the house they were staying in on Vancouver Island, western Canada, had become known to the wider public. “We didn’t have a plan,” Meghan says in the interview.”We needed a house and he [Tyler Perry] offered his security as well, so it gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we were going to do.”
“The biggest concern was while we were in Canada, in someone else’s house, I then got told, [at] short notice, that security was going to be removed,” Harry said.
“So suddenly it dawned on me: ‘Hang on a second, the borders could be closed, we’re going to have our security removed, who knows how long lockdown is going to be, the world knows where we are, it’s not safe, it’s not secure, we probably need to get out of here.'”
Harry and Meghan said they later decided to stay in California, buying a home in Montecito.