Tyler Perry has opened up about his friendship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and why he decided to offer his California home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they stepped down from their roles in the royal family.
The producer and director, 53, discussed the role he played in helping the couple when they first moved to the United States in March 2020 during an interview with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on NBC’s Today on Wednesday.
“It was a very difficult time for them and what I know about the two of them, that I wish the world knew, is how much they love,” Perry said when he was asked about the gesture. “These two people love each other. They found each other. Out of all these odds against them finding each other, they found each other.
“The love they have is really, really moving and I just wanted to do anything I could to support them.”
The actor then noted that he is looking for a love like the one shared by the couple, with Perry adding: “If I don’t have that, what she and Harry have, I don’t want it - that’s really amazing.”
The duke and duchess lived in one of Perry’s homes in Southern California shortly after arriving in the US from Canada. At the time, the filmmaker also provided the couple with security, a gesture Harry and Meghan shared their gratitude for during their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, during which they noted that Perry’s offer came shortly after they learned their own security was being removed, and amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
“While we were in Canada, in someone else’s house, I then got told, short notice, that security was going to be removed,” Prince Harry recalled of the period shortly after the couple had relocated from the UK to Canada. “So suddenly it dawned on me: ‘Hang on, 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.”
According to Meghan, Perry’s offer allowed them “breathing room” to figure out what their next move would be.
“We didn’t have a plan and we needed a house and he offered security as well so it gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we were going to do,” Meghan told Winfrey of the couple’s first months in California.
As for how the couple and Perry met, Meghan recently revealed during an interview with The Cut that it was the actor who initiated the friendship, when he reached out to her in May 2018 shortly after she and Prince Harry married. According to the duchess, Perry reached out to tell her that he was praying for her and “that he understood what this meant,” a reference to the “symbolic weight” of the couple’s wedding.
In addition to telling the duchess “he could only imagine what it was like,” Perry also encouraged Meghan to call if she ever needed support or advice.
According to Meghan, she didn’t reach out to Perry until after she and Harry had relocated to Canada, at which point she said she found herself telling the A Madea Homecoming star “every detail” of the couple’s situation.
“Sometimes, you can tell your life story to a stranger on a plane as opposed to some of the people that are closest to you,” she said.
Perry’s comments praising the couple and the love they share for one another come after he shared a sweet birthday tribute to the duchess on social media last month in honour of her 41st birthday.
“I’ve had a front row seat in your life for the past few years. I’ve watched you endure things that would have broken a lot of people,” wrote Perry, alongside a 2019 photo of the duchess taken during a tour in South Africa. In the picture, Meghan could be seen kissing a young girl on the hand. “I’m so incredibly proud to see how happy you, your husband, and your kids are now. It fills me with joy to say Happy Birthday Princess Meghan.”