Sometimes, existing relationships are strengthened by difficult circumstances. But other times, the difficult circumstances themselves are the beginnings of those strong relationships. Such was the case with Tyler Perry’s friendship with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, going from total stranger to saving grace to godfather of the couple’s youngest child in the space of three years.
On Wednesday’s episode of the Let’s Talk Off Camera With Kelly Ripa podcast, Perry opened up about taking them into his home following their contentious exit from the royal family before he’d met them in person, arranging for the family and their belongings to be secretly transported across international borders to his home while the world was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is very important for people in this business to have a safe place to land, to have a place where they can trust and talk freely and get advice that’s not going to be biased or from somebody who wants something from them,” Perry told host Kelly Ripa. He said that he sent them a note for their wedding, saying that he “got the tremendous sense” that for Markle especially things were “overwhelming.”
“I sent them a note … and just said, ‘If you ever need anything, I’m here,’ and she called months later and just talked to me like I was a therapist you talk to and we just had a great conversation,” he said of first connecting with Markle.
As Markle told The Cut in 2022 of turning to Perry for help, “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.”
After exiting the royal family in 2020, Markle and Harry headed to Canada to try and get out of the spotlight. In the midst of early COVID-19, their location—with their son Archie, a baby at the time—was revealed. With the borders closed, Markle took Perry up on his offer for help, she revealed in the couple’s bombshell 2021 interview with Oprah, and expanded on in the Meghan & Harry documentary. Perry stepped into the role of guardian angel, arranging for a private jet to ferry the family to Southern California and offering up his own Beverly Hills home to them, complete with security detail. All of this was done in total secrecy.
“They hid out at my house for a long time,” Perry told Ripa. “It was so great.”
“We needed a house and he offered security as well,” Markle said in the Oprah interview. “So it gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we are going to do.”
He also helped keep their location a secret.
“Every day. Every day that they were there, I looked to see if anything’s happening online. Nothing,” he said of checking whether the paparazzi had caught onto the couple’s whereabouts. “They don’t even know, so weeks and weeks they were there.”
“They were so happy. It was such a beautiful moment,” he said.
In the Meghan & Harry docuseries, it was revealed that baby Archie took his first steps and celebrated his first birthday in Perry’s backyard.
Now, he still has an important role in the family’s life, having been asked to be godfather to baby Lilibet, whom he calls “Little Lili.” “Oh, she’s so beautiful. She’s just so beautiful,” he told Ripa. “They make beautiful babies—that’s all I’ll say. They make some beautiful kids. Archie and Lili are beautiful.”
In the docuseries, Perry recalled the moment the couple asked him to be Lili’s godfather.
“They said, ‘We’d like for you to be Lili’s godfather,’” he said. “I go, ‘Whoa.’ I had to take a minute to take that in. And I thought, I’d be honored. I’d absolutely be honored.”
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