Is Tyler Perry Gay? His Life, His Truth

You’ve probably seen Tyler Perry’s popular Madea movies and wondered about the actor and filmmaker’s sexuality. Rumors have swirled for years that the talented Tyler Perry is gay. However, the private star has never directly addressed the speculation.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s known about Tyler Perry’s personal life and sexuality.

Here’s a quick answer:

Despite years of speculation, Tyler Perry has never publicly confirmed being gay or bisexual. The prominent actor/director has only dated women like Gelila Bekele, his partner of 13 years and mother of his son. Perry remains single but faces ongoing rumors about his sexuality likely because he plays the flamboyant Madea character and keeps his romantic life exceptionally private.

Who is Tyler Perry?

In case you’re not familiar, Tyler Perry is an accomplished American actor, producer, director, screenwriter, playwright and author. He is best known for his character Madea, a tough elderly black woman featured in many of Perry’s stage plays, films, and television series.

Some of Tyler Perry’s most popular Madea movies and stage plays include:

  • Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  • Madea’s Family Reunion
  • Madea Goes to Jail
  • Madea’s Big Happy Family
  • A Madea Christmas

Perry has also created numerous other successful films, TV shows, and theater productions focused on African American family dynamics and topics.

The talented filmmaker owns Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta and has a net worth estimated around $1 billion.

1992First play “I Know I’ve Been Changed”
2005First feature film “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”
2006First TV series “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”
2008Opened Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta
2022First major film distributed by major studio with “A Jazzman’s Blues”

As you can see, Tyler Perry has achieved immense success in the entertainment industry.

Tyler Perry’s Personal Life & Relationships

Perry tends to keep his personal life extremely private. However, there have been rumors about the actor’s sexuality for years.

The multi-talented filmmaker has been linked romantically to a few different women over the years:

  • Gelila Bekele – Ethiopian model/activist, dated for 13 years (2007-2020). They have a son together named Aman Tyler Perry born in 2014. This was Tyler Perry’s longest, most significant public relationship.
  • Tyra Banks – Supermodel/TV host, rumored to briefly date Tyler Perry in 2006. Both denied they were an item.
  • Tasha Smith – Actress who stars in many of Perry’s films, rumored to have dated the director.

Perry admitted after splitting from Gelila Bekele that he was going through a “midlife crisis” at age 51 and adjusting to single life.

So while Tyler Perry has mainly kept quiet about his dating life, his longest proven relationship was with a woman. He also has a biological son, further indicating he is likely straight.

Persistent Gay Rumors

Yet for nearly two decades, there have been recurring rumors in the tabloids that the famous Tyler Perry is gay or bisexual.

  • In 2007, the National Enquirer published a photo implying Perry was in a relationship with his close friend Gerald Levert just before Levert died. Perry vehemently denied the Enquirer’s claims.
  • In 2019, actor Walter Lee Hampton II alleged he had a sexual relationship years ago with Tyler Perry, who later denied knowing Hampton.
  • Also in 2019, actor Tyler Lepley (no relation to Tyler Perry) gave an interview shooting down rumors he was Perry’s gay lover.

So where do the gay rumors come from, if Perry only publicly dates women?

Some possible reasons the speculation persists:

  • Perry portrays the outlandish cross-dressing Madea character, leading some to assume he is gay or questioning his gender identity. But Perry considers Madea a loving personality and matriarchal figure for the black community.
  • As an unmarried man without a lot of celebrity romance gossip, Perry’s sexuality remains mysterious to the public.
  • Some critics have accused Perry’s filmmaking and plays of allegedly promoting homophobia or negative sterotypes of homosexuality. But no evidence exists of Perry making anti-LGBT statements personally.

Perry said in a 2020 interview: “I’m not homophobic, in any way, shape or form. I’m about the person and the character I’m bringing to life on stage or on the screen.”

So while the gay rumors continue to swirl in entertainment circles, proof that Tyler Perry might be gay or bisexual remains elusive.

Is Tyler Perry Straight or Bisexual?

Tyler Perry identifies himself as a straight man as far as the public knows. He has only publicly dated female partners like Gelila Bekele.

If Perry ever comes out as LGBTQ, he would still undoubtedly have the support of the black community and broader fanbase that has made him immensely successful.

But for now, Tyler Perry seems to consider himself a heterosexual man focused on family, faith and filmmaking.

In summary:

  • Tyler Perry’s sexuality has been debated for nearly 20 years, but he’s never come out as gay or bisexual.
  • His longest relationship (13 years) was with model Gelila Bekele, with whom he shares a son.
  • Perry tends to avoid discussing his personal dating life and relationships with the media.
  • While some still suspect Perry may be closeted, there is currently no definitive proof that he is gay or bisexual.

The accomplished actor/director seems committed to keeping tight control over the narrative concerning his sexuality, preferring privacy.

While only Tyler Perry knows the full truth, most signs currently point to Perry being a straight man who prefers keeping his romantic life quiet. But whether gay, straight or bisexual, there’s no denying Perry’s immense talents have made him a cultural icon.


1. Is Tyler Perry openly gay?

No. Tyler Perry has never openly confirmed that he is gay. He has only publicly dated women like Gelila Bekele in the past. His sexuality remains ambiguous, but most evidence indicates he is straight.

2. Who is Tyler Perry married to?

Perry has never been married. His longest relationship was with model Gelila Bekele, which lasted 13 years until 2020. They have one son together. Perry is currently believed to be single.

3. Does Tyler Perry have kids?

Yes. Perry has a son named Aman Tyler Perry born in 2014 with his ex-partner Gelila Bekele. Perry keeps his son and family life very private.

4. Has Tyler Perry had romantic relationships with men?

There is no definitive proof of Perry being romantically involved with other men. Rumors have linked him to male friends like Gerald Levert and Tyler Lepley platonically. But Perry has denied being gay and Lepley has denied dating him.

5. What are the reasons some people think Tyler Perry is gay?

Reasons range from: his cross-dressing Madea character; keeping his romantic life very private; not having celebrity girlfriends; some critics accusing his films/plays of being homophobic; and rumors from people claiming to have dated him. But no proof exists of Perry actually being gay. He identifies publicly as straight.

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