The filmmaker admits he had some concerns about his possible role in royal traditions.
Tyler Perry has a special role in the life of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter. On the final episode of Netflix's Harry & Meghan's docuseries, it was revealed that the renowned filmmaker is the godfather to 1-year-old Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
Perry recalls how Harry and Meghan asked him to take on the role -- and remembers they "were pretty serious on the phone."
"I go, 'OK, what's going on?' They said, 'Well, we'd like for you to be Lili's godfather.' I go, 'Whoa.' I had to take a minute to take that in," the 53-year-old director shares. "And I thought, 'I'd be honored. I'd absolutely be honored.'"
After hanging up with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Perry says he then realized what he had signed up for and had some concerns about his possible role in royal traditions.
"I called them back and go, 'Uh, hold on a second, does this mean we gotta go over [to the U.K.] and do all of that in church with [the royal family] and figure all that out? 'Cause I don't wanna do that,'" he notes. "'Maybe we can do a little private ceremony here [in the U.S.] and let that be that, and if you have to do it there, then that's OK.'"
Perry's connection to Harry and Meghan started after he wrote the former Suits star a letter ahead of her royal wedding, which said he was praying for her amid "hurtful" stories popping up about her strained relationship with her father, Thomas Markle.
"I couldn't even imagine this woman finding the man that she loved, the man of her dreams, and him being a prince, and then to walk into all of that madness and need the security of family and then have your father do some horrible things," Perry says in the docuseries, adding that he "immediately empathized" with Meghan. "When my life changed and success started to come, family members became different people, and I know how hurtful and horrible it can be."
Years after her wedding, Perry and Meghan finally spoke over the phone, a moment the Duchess of Sussex tearfully recalls in the docuseries.
"To tell Meghan that I felt her feelings were valid, [that] hurt," Perry says. "I didn't want to have to say that to her -- I didn't want her to feel that. But I didn't want to lie to her. She was afraid of them destroying her, or going crazy, or them making her think she was crazy."
The filmmaker fully supports Meghan and Harry's decision to move to California and step down as senior royals.
"This woman was abused. And so was he. To use the Institution to try and do all the things that a batterer would do, like, 'Here's what we're gonna do: We're gonna cut off the money, we're gonna not leave you security, we're gonna do all those things to make you comply and come back,'" he says. "...And for the both of them to have the wherewithal to say, 'I don't give a damn if it's the palace. I'm out of here.' I applauded that."
In 2020, when Harry and Meghan decided to move out of the U.K. and give it a go in the United States with their 1-year-old son, Archie, Perry offered them one of his homes to live at in Los Angeles, California.
"You said, 'Stay as long as you need to.' We said, 'Maybe we just stay forever,'" Harry remembers Perry saying. "It was bliss, because no one knew we were there."
Also in the docuseries, there's a moment where Meghan talks about that time living at Perry's home, noting, "It's secret, so at least during COVID-19 we can take the dogs for a walk and have a little slice of normal life."
All six episodes of Harry & Meghan are currently streaming on Netflix.