Tyler Perry could not move forward without confronting his past.

The Hollywood mogul has built up a billionaire entertainment empire but life did not always look so good for the film creator and star.

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Perry, 50, touches on the abuse he suffered as a youth at the hands of his father, Emmitt Perry. The filmmaker claims his father once beat him with a vacuum cord and ripped the skin off his back.

“I don’t think I ever felt safe or protected as a child,” Perry tells People. By 10 years of age, he was sexually abused by three different men and a woman. “It was rape. I didn’t know what was going on or the far-reaching effects of it. I just moved through it.”

When Perry was 41 years old, he discovered Emmitt was not his biological father. He has since forgiven Emmitt and supports him financially but has no other relationship with him.

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“[It took] a tremendous amount of prayer,” Perry says. “But the biggest thing that helped me understand it is that me holding on to what I was holding on to wasn’t hurting him… but it was killing me.”

He added, “Holding on was hurting me more than him.”

“I’m telling you, the shift and forgiveness in me left me raw because it was a weight inside. Once I let it go, I literally felt lighter inside. I chose to be as positive and inspirational, and I can because I don’t want to feel that again.”