Apparently, even princes and princesses sometimes need fairy godmothers and godfathers. In the sixth and final installment of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan, the bombshell docuseries outlining the royals’ decision to step away from official duties, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle explain how billionaire Hollywood producer Tyler Perry swooped in to rescue them during a time of need.
After Harry and Meghan severed official ties with the British royal family in 2020, the couple says that they were living on Vancouver Island in a home swarmed by paparazzi and without government-provided security. It was around this time that Meghan called Perry—who had originally reached out to the couple prior to their 2018 wedding—and Perry offered them his $18 million Beverly Hills mansion, private security, and a personal plane to secretly transport them, their son, Archie; Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland; their dogs; and more than a dozen suitcases from Canada to California.
“He [was] like, ‘My house is safe.… You’re going to stay as long as you need,’” recalls Meghan. “‘And I’m going get you there safely. And I’m gonna keep you there safely until you have somewhere to go.”
In cell phone video taken on the private plane during that top-secret mission—media did not discover the couple was in California for six weeks—Harry reveals that he and Meghan had not even met Perry before the producer offered up his home.
“This is the current situation, thanks to another amazing friend, whom we’ve never met, but who believes in us and wants to help,” says Harry.
At another point in the episode, Perry explains what about Harry and Meghan’s story resonated deeply enough with him to reach out to the couple in the first place, before their wedding.
“I’m not a royal watcher…but I saw something about her father,” says Perry, referring to Thomas Markle and the revelation that he staged and sold photos to the press. “I found it to be hurtful if he were my father, and I couldn’t even imagine this woman finding the man that she loved, the man of her dreams, and him being a prince, and having to walk into all of that madness and need the security of your family, and then have your father do some horrible things.”
“When my life changed and success started to come, family members became different people,” continues Perry. “And I know how hurtful and horrible it can be. I immediately empathized with her. This was before the wedding. And I sent her a note, just praying for her just to be able to move through it and hold on, and let her know that everything in her life had prepared her for this moment, or so I thought.”
In a separate interview, Meghan shares her side of the story.
“He sent me a letter before the wedding just saying he was praying for me. And that if I ever need anything, he would be there,” remembers Meghan. “Months and months and months went by. And then one day, when we were in Canada, I had called him. Finally, after years at that point, first time we ever spoke, and I was just a wreck, I was just crying and crying. Sometimes it’s just easier to open up to someone who knows nothing at all. And that was that moment with me and Tyler.”
Perry reveals that Meghan confided her personal fears to him over that phone call—and the conversation made him think back to how Princess Diana was hounded by media after her divorce from Prince Charles with little protection, he thinks, from the palace.
“[Meghan] was afraid of them destroying her, or going crazy, or them making her think she was crazy,” says Perry, referring to the palace. “I knew the symptoms. I knew what it was like. Everyone’s like, ‘Tyler, how dare you compare this to the abuse of your mother?’ This woman was abused. And so was he.” Referring to the couple’s claims about the palace’s unwillingness to help them, Perry says, “To use the institution to try and do all the things a batterer would do, like, ‘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.’ 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.”