Everything Tyler Perry Has Said About His Son Aman Tyler Perry
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Tyler Perry is a successful multi-hyphenate, but the most important title he holds? Dad.
The famed filmmaker is father to one son, Aman Tyler Perry, with ex Gelila Bekele.
"All of this other stuff is really great. But the thing that gives me motivation every day is being Aman's father," he told AARP The Magazine in 2022.
Shortly after welcoming Aman in 2014, Perry told PEOPLE that parenthood was "surreal, incredible, moving."
"I see my face in him every day and it's pretty wonderful," he said at the New York City premiere of Selma, adding, "[I'm surprised] how much of a personality he has of his own. Just watching his facial expressions and realizing that this kid has come to me with his own life, and mine is not his and his is not mine. I'm just here to usher him."
It may be a while before fans see that face, however, as Perry hopes to keep Aman out of the spotlight. "My son's not famous. I want him to have as normal a life as he can," Perry told AARP. "I want him to know what it's like to have his own name and his own life and not have the pressure of trying to live up to whatever or whoever your father was."
Perry and Bekele split in 2020, but a source told PEOPLE at the time that the pair "stayed close friends" and "their focus is on being the best parents they can for their son." The two are on the same page with parenting, especially when it comes to keeping Aman down to earth.
"We teach him about the struggle," the Madea creator told Gayle King during a Q&A at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. "We teach him about what a blessing it is to have anything! So he gets that, in this sense. And I want to make sure he maintains that."
Read on to learn more about Tyler Perry's son.
He was born on November 30, 2014
Tyler Perry Instagram
Aman Tyler Perry was born to Tyler Perry and Ethiopian model, filmmaker and activist Gelila Bekele on Nov. 30, 2014. Aman means peace and represents "the true meaning of Thanksgiving and then, of course, the holiday season," a source told PEOPLE shortly after the young Perry's birth.
The parents sent out a birth announcement to family and close friends shortly after Aman was born, asking for donations to be made to Charity Water in lieu of gifts.
That January, Perry posted a photo of Aman's crib on Instagram. "I have traveled the world trying to find the peace that I have when I'm holding my sleeping son in my arms. God thank you! Amen for Aman. He's beautiful!!" he wrote in the caption.
Perry calls Aman his "greatest joy"
Perry has relished in watching Aman grow up, telling PEOPLE in 2019 that "even the things that are driving me crazy" bring joy, which includes the precocious curiosity his son had around age 5.
"This is the thing he does: 'Can a cheetah beat a rancher? Can a cheetah beat a car? Can a cheetah beat a bird? Can a cheetah beat a leaf falling?'' By the time we go through all of, 'Can a cheetah beat?', I'm beat," Perry said. "But no, it's just joy. Just watching him learn and discover and yeah, it's wonderful."
Aman has helped Perry heal from past abuse
The New Orleans native, who endured physical and sexual abuse as a child, has spoken about how raising his son has helped him heal from his own past trauma.
During an appearance on Audible's Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast, Perry opened up to the former first lady about disciplining his son with compassion.
The media mogul recalled a time when the little boy didn't want to brush his teeth when at home with their nanny. Perry asked the nanny to leave and "got down eye-to-eye and talked to him."
"I said, 'Listen to me, you are not going to be this way. We love you. We are your parents. You will not behave this way. We taught you better than this. You are a better kid than this. You're going to be a better man than this,' " he told Aman. "And I'm talking to him. I started to get emotional in the moment and I had to leave the room."
Perry recalled how the moment led him to tears after he had the realization that no one had ever talked to him with that level of compassion as a child.
"So to have a moment where I had a chance to have a conversation with a child, who is my spitting image, I was not only correcting and leading him the right way but helping my own little boy inside of me heal, it was a beautiful moment," he said.
Perry is teaching him how to navigate privilege
During a Q&A at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, Gayle King asked Perry what it was like to raise a child under different circumstances than the ones he grew up in, and he replied that "[Aman] does not get everything he wants. For birthdays, he'll get a gift or two. For Christmas, he'll get a gift or two. Because he don't have a job. He ain't got no money."
That doesn't mean Aman isn't aware of what a credit card is, even if Perry wished he didn't.
"So I'm at work, I get a message from [Aman], and he said, 'Papa? Can I use your credit card?' He's 6 years old!" he recalled during the Q&A. "I'm like, 'What the hell you know about a credit card?' He'd just seen me use the credit card. I was like, 'No, son. That's just plastic, but you have to pay for it. You have to have a job.' "
Though Perry and Bekele split in 2020, the producer-director praised his ex for helping him keep Aman down to Earth.
"I think, when you have a team like Gelila and I are, she is very grounded and balanced at making sure he stays that way. Because I have wrestled with I want to give him everything, because I didn't have it," he said.
Perry continued, "But I also know how dangerous that is, because I have friends who have wealthy kids, and I want to punch them in the face. You know what I mean? These kids, they're just ... They're obnoxious! And I can't raise that either. Because he's a sweet boy with a very, as you said, empathetic spirit. And we teach him about how people are all of us."
He has famous godparents
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Aman's parents aren't the only guiding forces he's had in his young life — his godmothers are the late Cecily Tyson and Oprah Winfrey. During a visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2022, Perry shared that Winfrey sends his son "so many books."
"My son's not online and things like that, he doesn't have an iPad," the Don't Look Up actor said. "He gets to watch some things on the iPad, maybe 30 minutes every now and then, but the books. [Winfrey] sends great gifts."
Perry himself isn't unfamiliar with the role of famous godparents. In December 2022, he revealed that he is the godfather of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter Lilibet Diana.
Happily, for Perry, his son is still at an age where fame is insignificant.
"I asked him, 'Do you know what famous is?' And he said, 'Yeah it's when a lot of people know your name,' " Perry recalled on the talk show. "So I said, 'You know, by that definition, some people think I'm famous.' He goes, 'Really? Can we finish coloring now?' "