The unexpected death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss earlier this week has prompted Tyler Perry to open up about his own mental health struggles.
Boss, a beloved professional dancer, actor and former DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, died by suicide on Dec. 13. He was 40.
Perry paid tribute to Boss in a moving video he posted on Instagram Dec. 14. In the video captioned “Life,” the media mogul said he wanted to encourage “any of you who are going through hard times, struggling.”
“I’ve only met him a couple of times,” Perry said about tWitch. “He was always full of life, it seemed like, such a light.”
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Perry then spoke candidly about the pain he endured in his own life.
“With that said, I just want to take you back to a time in my life when I tried to commit suicide, a couple of times, because it was so dark I didn’t think it would get any better,” he shared.
“I had endured so much pain, so much abuse, sexual abuse, it was all so hard to just move through, that I thought the only way to make this better was to end my life,” he added. “Had any of those attempts happened, I would’ve missed the best part of my life.”
The Madea’s Family Reunion filmmaker urged anyone “going through some things” to seek help.
“I know it may seem like there’s no hope, but please reach out to someone… call, ask for help if you are dealing with anything that is emotionally taking you to a place where you think you want to end your life,” he said.
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Perry added that he now has a different perspective on life.
“What I realize now, looking back on all those dark times is, sometimes the pain is a buy-in. I know that’s hard to understand. Not all the time, sometimes, the pain is a buy-in,” he added. “That’s the way I had to learn to look at it to get through it. What I mean by that is, all that pain, all that hell, all that struggle, if I had given up, if I had stopped, I wouldn’t have seen the better part of my life. I was buying into something, I was paying for something.”
Boss was found dead at a motel in Encino, California, not far from his home. The autopsy report from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The hip-hop dancer and former DJ joined The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2014, and was promoted to co-executive producer of the daytime talk show six years later.
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Before teaming up with Ellen DeGeneres, he competed on So You Think You Can Dance and was the runner-up in 2008. He was announced as a permanent judge for the 17th season of the dance competition series earlier this year.
Boss also had roles in the films Magic Mike XXL (2015), Step Up All In (2014), Step Up Revolution (2012) and Step Up 3D (2010).
He is survived by his wife, Allison Holker, and their three children, Weslie, 14, Maddox, 6, Zaia, 3.