Emmitt Perry Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 13, 1969 to a religious mother and carpenter father. He experienced years of abuse by his father and began seeking solace through writing upon watching an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986) discussing the therapeutic nature of writing. At 16, he changed his first name into Tyler to estrange himself from his abusive father. He began writing letters to himself then, many of which inspired his first musical "I Know I've Been Changed" which focused on child abuse, dysfunctional families, self-worth, and forgiveness. He debuted the play at an Atlanta theater, but failed to garner viewers.
Refusing to give up, Perry continued undergoing several jobs while reworking on the show. He staged the show in several other cities, but still didn't success that he was broke and once had to live in a car. His fate changed when in 1998 he rented out Atlanta's House of Blues to once again stage "I Know I've Been Changed". This time, he earned critical acclaim and the play was a commercial success. He subsequently experienced career breakthrough in 2000 with his created character of Madea which first appeared in his play "I Can Do Bad All by Myself". Since then, Madea was often featured in many other Perry's works, like "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2001), "Madea's Family Reunion" (2002), and "Madea's Class Reunion" (2003).
In 2005, Perry released and starred in his film debut "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" which also featured Madea once again. He kept adding more projects into his resume for the following years, including "Madea's Family Reunion" (2006), "Why Did I Get Married?" (2007), "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" (2009), "Madea's Big Happy Family" (2011), and "A Madea Christmas" (2013). In 2014, he landed a supporting role in thriller "Gone Girl". In addition to his numerous stage and big screen roles, Perry also launched his own television series, "House of Payne" that ran for eight seasons on TBS (2006 – 2012).
By September 2014, Perry was expecting his first child with girlfriend of five years Gelila Bekele.