Tyler Perry on his weight loss: ‘Now I feel like it’s okay to be thought of as sexy’

These are some photos of Tyler Perry at the Alex Cross premiere two nights ago in NYC. Tyler stars as Alex Cross in the reboot of the franchise, with Ed Burns playing a supporting role and Matthew Fox playing the bad guy. The movie is getting some pretty rough reviews, but I do have to applaud producers for thinking outside the box when casting the Cross character, previously played by Morgan Freeman. While this film might not be the best thing, I like that Tyler is being given the chance to play a straight-up leading man in a big Hollywood suspense-drama. Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell from these photos, Tyler has lost some weight. He’s looking really good, isn’t he? He looks svelte and fit and rather dashing. Well, as it turns out, he began a weight loss/get fit program for this film, and it’s changed his life. Perry spoke to Men’s Health about his new lifestyle (you can read the full piece here):

Where he is currently: He’s 6’6″ and a solid 255 pounds. Forbes named him the country’s highest-paid male entertainer in 2011, when he earned $130 million.

His past: A high school dropout from New Orleans who was physically and sexually abused in his youth and who later struggled for years in obscurity, he confirms that he’s never been better—professionally, personally, physically. “I’ve worked my entire life to get to this place… The first 28 years of my life, it was hell and misery. Now I can do whatever I want. I don’t want any drama; I don’t want to argue; I don’t want to answer to anybody. I’ve worked too hard to get here, and I’m loving this freedom.”

Doubts about following in Morgan Freeman’s footsteps: “I thought, ‘Well, Morgan Freeman played this role, you might not want to do this, ’cause Morgan Freeman knocked it out of the park,'” Perry recalls. “But the more I read it, the more I realized that I could do it.”

Whipping his body into shape: Perry worked with a trainer to drop 30 pounds and add shirt-bulging muscle. His hourlong morning circuits include cardio, body-weight moves, and free-weight and cable work. Afternoons he practices Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art he initially learned for the movie’s fight scenes, and which eventually evolved into an ass-kicking workout.

A new diet: Biscuits, pancakes, pork chops, jambalaya, and dirty rice were replaced by scrambled egg whites, ground turkey chili, grilled chicken breasts, and green shakes.

Sticking with the program: “I walk into a room with a lot more confidence,” he says. “All my life I’ve tried to hide my height. I was taller than everybody else and stood out, so I would slouch and try to hide it. But with what I’ve been able to do with my body, I’m owning it. I’m standing up when I walk into a room.”

Hiding behind the Madea costume: During a childhood in which his father beat him and male and female adults molested him, Perry grew up wanting to be invisible. Madea’s outsized, unflattering costumes, he realizes now, were just another place for him to hide. “Now,” he adds, “I feel like it’s okay to be thought of as sexy.”

[From Men’s Health]

You know what? I admire Tyler Perry. Truly. I’ve defended him before – when Spike Lee was criticizing Perry using some very racially-charged language – but I think I can say now that I actually think Perry is a very inspirational figure. While his films aren’t always my cup of tea, I think his accomplishments are amazing. And good for him for getting to a place where he feels more comfortable in his skin – he looks great!

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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48 Responses to “Tyler Perry on his weight loss: ‘Now I feel like it’s okay to be thought of as sexy’”

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  1. Ellie66 says:

    Ah I love Tyler Perry! Good for him he looks great!

  2. Amelia says:

    I feel quite bad not knowing who Tyler Perry is as he sounds like a really great guy. Well, a quick google should sort that out..
    He was on Jay Leno the other night as well, I believe, really charming guy.

  3. V4Real says:

    Looking good Perry. I enjoy most of his comedic performances in his movies but it’s good to see him branch out and do something more on the sinister side such as Alex Cross.

    I understand why Spike Lee is so envious.

  4. dooliloo says:

    I like this man, because despite all the criticism of the stereotypes he does in films, he’s one of the highest earners in Hollywood… alone!!! I got some of his films, not all are good but the Why Did I Get Married is one of my fave of his.
    Spike Lee is getting on my nerves sometimes not to say most of the time but I respect the guy too.
    Good on him being comfy in his skin. I just hope he won’t go on a patronizing “How I got my Weight Groove Back” campaign like some celebs, because that would really strike a nerve.

    • Raven says:

      Spike Lee is just jealous. Tyler Perry is apparently the highest earning Black filmmaker in Hollywood. I heard an interview with him a few days ago and was really impressed with how far he’s come. I think the outside now matches the inside.

  5. BrandNew says:

    He’s still not sexy. Glad to hear he’s embracing a healthy lifestyle and self confidence….good for him

  6. HadleyB says:

    A before pic would be helpful but he’s still not attractive. At all.

  7. keats says:

    Ehhh. I still don’t like him. But his backstory is much more inspirational than I realized.

    • Sweet Dee says:

      I agree with you. His movies are not my thing, I find them overly goofy a little offensive honestly but obviously a lot of people like him and what he does. I love his whole story though, and all the hope it inspires so I’m happy for him anyway.

      As an aside, I read three of the Alex Cross novels and in my head he was not Morgan Freeman, and he was even farther from Tyler Perry. Denzel is who should be playing Alex Cross, IMHO.

  8. lizzi says:

    I wanted to see this movie, but if it’s really bad I’m afraid it will ruin the James Patterson character for me… I never saw the morgan freeman ones.

  9. Chicagogurl17 says:

    I find him inspirational. He has a very kind heart. I have family in Atlanta and I know he regularly donates to people in the community. He bought a handicap van for a woman with ceribal palsy and I know he bought supplies for a school where there was a hardship. He really wants to give back and I applaud that.

  10. NerdMomma says:

    Ahhh I just watched his interview on the Colbert Report from last night. It was fantastic.

  11. hoya_chick says:

    I don’t like him or any of his movies and I am not afraid to say that. I think they are crap and full of gross stereotypes about black people. Making tons of money by churning out crap is not admirable, I guess it’s all a matter of taste but I do not enjoy them. I figured once he did become wealthy and powerful enough he would have started to make movies that showed African Americans in a more positive and realistic light, in the vein of films such as Love Jones, Brown Sugar, the Best Man etc. His movies to date that are not Madea related have been poorly written, acted and produced. His back story is very interesting and he has overcome a lot of adversity, it just sucks that he has become a part of the perpetuation of negative stereotypes of black people in cinema.

    I also think he is a terrible actor. Kiss the Girls is one of my favorite movies. I watch it every time it comes on! I just watched it last week. I cannot believe he was cast as Alex Cross. Morgan Freeman weeps! I think Idris would have been an excellent choice!

    • V4Real says:

      Not that I’m defending Perry; he can do that himself but how is “Why Did I Get Married 1& 2 full of stereotypes? The cast in those films were well to do professional people who had issues just like any other race. Do you not find it realistic that the Black people in those films were successful?

      The kind of stereotypes I have a problem with are the ones that label black people as gangsters, thugs, murders, thieves, uneducated, etc… You don’t see a lot of those kind of stereotypes in Perry movies. I know the Medea ones can be a little out there but they also had positive messages mixed with a little humor.

      As far as him playing Alex Cross, I hope he does a good job. I like it when actors are not typecast into playing one particular character. A true actor should be able to play any type of role; that’s what makes them good at their craft.

      • hoya_chick says:

        Hi V4Real, thanks for the reply. Just a few things.

        I did say “his movies to date that are not Madea related have been poorly written, acted and produced” and in my opinion those films you mentioned fall into that category. I tried watching both but found them uninteresting and full of cliches. As I said, it’s more a question of taste and preference once you move a away from the Madea stuff his other films are weak to say the least.

        “The cast in those films were well to do professional people who had issues just like any other race. Do you not find it realistic that the Black people in those films were successful?”—I do not disagree with this statement, but just getting a black cast together doesn’t mean that, I as a black person has to like the movie! The movies I mentioned in my original post like Love Jones and Brown Sugar both have professionals who happen to be black dealing with issues just like any other race. I happen to find those movies more enjoyable than the ones you mentioned. Like I said above they were boring and cliched and full of bad acting. Nothing to do with race.

        The stereotypes I am referring to are about the Madea movies. While they may not have black people ‘as gangsters, thugs, murders, thieves, uneducated’ there are other stereotypes in those movies I do find offensive. I can give you a litany of them but I already see we have different views on him and his movies so I won’t even bother.

        But lets agree to disagree. Different stokes for different folks. I just think that he has the power and clout to make better movies that are not reliant on negative, overly perpetuated stereotypes that include more quality actors, and better writing and production!

      • V4Real says:

        “Just getting a Black cast together doesn’t mean I as a Black person has to like the movie.” Those are your words. I didn’t know you were black I was just responding to your comments about Perry’s movies. I never said a person should like a movie because it’s a black cast. I also never mentioned that I liked all his movies. I haven’t even seen all of his movies. I only asked what stereotypes did you see in the two that I mentioned.

        I then said that the Medea’s movies are a little out there (hence, meaning that there are some stereotypical elements of those movies) but added that it had positive messages mixed with humor. Not once you read that I said I liked the Medea movies. I just pointed out the sterotypes that he didn’t include in his movies that I have issues with.

        As for myself I only see movies that are of interest to me. My genre is action and adventure as well as horror and I could care less about the color of the people that are acting in it. Now I will go see a movie just becuase one of my favorite actors are in it.

        But I will say this I saw the movie For Colored Girls and I don’t think the acting in that movie was that bad.

  12. Jezi says:

    I do like some of his movies but reading what he went through makes me admire him even more. Good for him for taking a horrible childhood experience and turning his life into a positive.

  13. MrsBPitt says:

    sorry, but in my mind I cannot “not” see him in a dress…

  14. tabby says:

    Idris elba should have played Alex cross. I can’t take Tyler Perry serious as a action star. And besides idris is eye candy, Tyler not so much.

  15. ms. heart says:

    there is no way this dude is straight!?

    • Shitler says:

      & what has that got to do with anything?

    • lilred says:

      And that’s an issue why?
      This wasn’t an article on his sexuality it wasn’t even mentioned.

    • lw says:

      Of course he is not straight. But he will go to his grave proclaiming he is to protect his image with all of the African-American “church ladies” who love him longtime and support all of his contrived movies and tv shows. I know women who would “fight to the death” anyone who claims he is gay.

      • Shitler says:

        @ lw
        how do you know he’s not straight? Because he’s not publicly dating? I don’t care what his orientation is just tired of people throwing assumptions out there without any proof

    • V4Real says:

      Whether he’s straight or not shouldn’t be the issue. We don’t have to know about every aspect of his life.

      Jody Foster has been dodging gay rumors for a long time. We still don’t know who the father of her son’s are even though it was rumored to be Randy Stone. That’s a part of her life she chose to keep personal and it doesn’t take away from her credibility as an actress.

      • Yup, me says:

        Jodie has been out for a long time, for at least 5 years, hasn’t she?

      • V4Real says:

        @ Yup I don’t know if she came out but what I meant by dodging is that she just wouldn’t speak on her sexual orientation. If she came out, good for her.
        Now just tell me who fathered those damn kids (just kidding).

      • Onyx XV says:

        @ yup: Yes she has been out for quite some time.

  16. tru tru says:

    I like him but I do not see him as sexy, nope.

    he looks fit though.

  17. lucy2 says:

    He does look good, and it’s interesting to see him taking on a role like this.
    I know a lot of people have issues with his films, and probably rightfully so (don’t think I’ve seen any of them) but I do think his story is inspirational too. Most people who suffer that sort of trauma are lucky to keep it together at all, and he’s really built something amazing for himself.

  18. Juicy Lucy says:

    Idris elba is the actor that should have played Alex Cross. Tyler is probably a great guy in person, but I can’t take him seriously as Alex.

  19. Lisa says:

    omg, Hollywood and their fucking egg whites. Eat the whole damned egg.

    • Dinah says:

      Grok would! (from primal blog belonging to Mark Sisson, in case anyone thinks it’s a non sequitur)

      Anyway, I think he’s cute, always have. He just has this smile that’s so serene and warm- almost beatific.

    • Onyx XV says:

      Thank you! Not eating the yolk isn’t going to make you perfect, no matter how hard you want to believe it! 🙂

  20. Shitler says:

    I believe the character of Alex Cross was described as looking like a young Mohammed Ali? I fail to see how Tyler Perry & Morgan Freeman embody a character like that. Not saying they don’t have the necessary talent just looks wise

  21. KellyinSeattle says:

    I can’t get the image of Madea out of my mind, but he does look good. I didn’t know he was 6’6″!

  22. j.eyre says:

    He looks great. I love that outfit with the pop of blue for the pocket square.

  23. ViktoryGin says:

    I think what makes this a conflictual debate is where to draw the line between realistic cultural depictions that are legitimate and stereotyping. The line is thin, but there is always an element of truth. Tyler Perry got started on the “chitlin circuit”, which carries a different set of aesthetic values based on cheap melodrama, elaborate histronics, and audience participation. While you can continue to debate the said merits of these values, at the end it is what it is. It only exists becuase there is a group of people that responds to this type of creative expression. So, I try to find the positive aspects of what he does which is…

    1) Keep black actors gainfully employed when they otherwise wouldn’t be (let’s not forget that Idris Elba got his start in American film while on The Wire because of Perry.)
    2) He gives expression and cultural representation to a people whose stories have historically been marginalized in mainstream American culture (truth be told that’s basically anything that is not WASP)
    3)Is single-handedly building lasting structures for blacks in film in the US in terms of networking and funding.

    As much as I have contentious issues with the artistic validity of what he puts out, one cannot deny is current importance. I find it helpful not to view him as an “auteur” necessarily, but rather like a glorified social worker carrying out his civic duty to his people and community. So, he’s no Steve McQueen nor Spike Lee. I’ve learned to let it go because that is not his function. His merit, in my opinion, is his dedication and his service.

  24. WTF says:

    He is a disgrace. He made this fortune by producing plays and movies that portrayed African Americans in a light more offensive than we would ever have tolerated from a white producer. Now he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. GTFOH!
    Even if he weren’t a shameless exploiter of his race, he would still be A TERRIBLE ACTOR.
    This role should have gone to Idris Elba. When this movie flops, it will only make it that much more difficult to get a talented black actor as lead in a major hollywood film.

  25. misstrishm says:

    I like the Tyler Perry a lot. He’s kind of cute and James Patterson who wrote the books staring Alex Cross was very impressed with Tyler’s portrayal of Alex Cross. So that’s enough for me.

  26. Genevieve says:

    Good for him, HOWEVER, he says “now he can do whatever he wants” well I don’t think he really feels that cause he obviously still doesn’t feel comfortable coming out of the closet.

  27. CM says:

    I admire him for his persistence and for overcoming adversity, but I think his movies are poorly written and acted. The thing that bothers me about Hollywood, is that they seem to have an ‘at least it’s something’ mentality (aka-black people should take whatever work they can get). I see why someone like Spike Lee gets frustrated-he makes really good movies that feature black people, and has to fight to get them made, while atrocious slock like ‘Meet the Browns’, pollutes the airways. Sorry, but ‘The Cosby Show’ was one my favorite shows growing up, and it’s hard to believe that almost 30 years after it, there is still a void to be filled.