Why Tyler Perry and His Child's Mother Keep Their Son Out of the Spotlight

Tyler Perry became a father in 2014 but the public has not seen any photos or videos of the young boy.

For the first time in explicit detail, Tyler Perry and close friends and family members share his troubled upbringing in the documentary Maxine's Baby, available to stream on Prime. The Madea staple has been open about the abuse his father inflicted on him throughout his childhood. Growing up, Perry would question whether his father was his biological dad because of the hate he felt from him. He learned after his mother's death that the man who raised and abused him, Emmett Perry Sr., the man Perry was named after, is not his father. Despite such, Perry financially provides for the man who raised him, but has been estranged from him for years. In the documentary, there's a scene featuring his cousin attempting to speak with Emmett Sr., but he curses him and forbids him from allowing cameras onto the property he lives on, which Perry purchased. Regardless of the pain Perry still bears because of his childhood abuse, it's fostered the determination in him to be a great father. His son was born nine years ago and makes an appearance in the documentary via audio only. Perry insists on keeping the young boy out of the spotlight.

He shares son, Aman Tyler Perry, with his ex-girlfriend, model turned filmmaker and activist, Gelila Bekele. The film and television mogul, who opened his famed Tyler Perry Studios (the biggest self-funded studio in the U.S.) in 2019, told AARP The Magazine in 2022, "All of this other stuff is really great. But the thing that gives me motivation every day is being Aman's father." He's shared glimpses of Aman on his social media, and the 9-year-old makes an audio appearance in his new documentary Maxine's Baby. While Perry is in the spotlight due to his work, it's unlikely fans will see Aman's face publicly, at least anytime soon. And Bekele says that's intentional.

While speaking to The Morning Hustle about directing the critically acclaimed documentary, Bekele opened up about their decision to keep Aman out of the spotlight. "We're still trying to figure out what fame does for and to people," she said. "I think as parents, you don't want your children to be part of that conversation. We're civilians. I want to sort of keep it that way for as long as I can."

When asked why fatherhood isn't a central part of the documentary to show Tyler's life from child abuse victim to thriving father, Bekele says viewers will see that full circle moment. "There is a conversation about fatherhood. You see three generations of men…I started filming when I was about five months pregnant. And seeing this boy grow up and ask his father, 'Why do you work so hard?' 

In the documentary, Tyler has an emotional moment at his gospel brunch on the opening weekend of Tyler Perry Studios. He recalls opening his second studio years prior with his mother, who is now deceased, sitting in the audience cheering him on — to the moment in 2019 having his son by his side. It was 11 years to the date of his second studio opening.