Acclaimed producer, director and actor Tyler Perry is one of the most well-known entertainers in Hollywood but he is notoriously private about his personal life. Perry and longtime girlfriend Gelila Bekele appeared to still be together as of November 2020.
Update: Perry posted on social media on December 16 that he was single. Read more here.
Perry shares a son with Bekele, who has her own successful career as a model, filmmaker and humanitarian. Bekele was born in Ethiopia and spent part of her childhood in Europe before moving to the United States at age 19. You can read more about Bekele’s background here.
Here’s what you need to know:
Perry Has Said Bekele Would Get Her Share of His Wealth
Perry briefly answered questions about his love life during an interview on rapper T.I. Harris’ podcast, Expeditiously, in April 2020. The host asked Perry about why he was not married and whether he was still looking for the right person.
Although he didn’t mention Bekele by name, Perry clarified that he was in a committed relationship and described his partner as “wonderful.” But it was Perry’s next comment that set tongues wagging. In terms of his wealth, Perry added that his partner was “getting her share of all of it.”
And there is, in fact, a lot of it. Perry’s net worth is estimated to be about $1 billion, according to Forbes. The outlet published an in-depth feature on Perry in September 2020, which detailed his rise from homelessness to a self-made billionaire.
According to Forbes, the key to Perry’s financial success has been his decision to maintain ownership of his projects. The magazine reported that Perry “owns the entirety of his creative output, including more than 1,200 episodes of television, 22 feature films and at least two dozen stage plays, as well as a 330-acre studio lot at the edge of Atlanta’s southern limits.”
Perry’s accumulated wealth also stems from his real estate holdings. As of this writing, Perry was building a 35,000 square foot mega-mansion in Buckhead, Georgia. TMZ reported the property had a private runway and that there were plans for an organic farm.
Perry’s Los Angeles mansion made headlines in May 2020 when it was reported that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had been living at the secluded residence in the Beverly Ridge Estates, which is a guard-gated community. According to the Daily Mail, the 8-bedroom, Tuscan-style mansion was worth $18 million.
Perry Wrote About Preparing for a ‘Heartbreaking’ Conversation He’ll Have to Have With His Young Son About Being a Black Man in America
Perry recalled in a 2017 interview with PeopleTV that Bekele told him they were having a baby by holding up the pregnancy test during a FaceTime call. Perry gushed about Bekele during that interview: “There’s no other person on this planet that I would want to be involved with or have a child with because she’s amazing.”
Perry wrote about his son in an essay for People in June 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. Perry wrote about how he knew he would have to have a difficult conversation with his young son about what it means to be a Black man in America. He wrote in part:
The level of racism and brutality that George Floyd faced is something that we as Black people know all too well. When I saw that video, I had so many raw, guttural emotions. I felt for him and his family, I felt for all of us as black people, I felt for my five-year-old son. As I watched with tears in my eyes, it brought back a flood of years of emotions from carrying what feels like the weight of racism on my neck.
Perry added about his son:
I know that as his father, a Black man in America, it is my duty to prepare him for the harsh reality that awaits him outside of the watchful eyes of his loving parents. It will be a hard, heartbreaking conversation but one that I must have and will have soon.