Tyler Perry isn’t exactly known for his subtlety, perhaps especially when it comes to real estate. The actor, director, screenwriter, and producer has bought and sold a number of sprawling estates over the years, most notably in Los Angeles and Atlanta. He also shelled out a significant amount of money for a log cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and once treated himself to a 25-acre island in the Bahamas for his birthday. But his generous isn’t all just for show: Perry has been deliberate spending in selecting the sites for his real estate expansion, a number of properties that have ties to slavery and racial discrimination as part of a slow, steady march toward reclaiming these places.
In a 2019 BET awards speech, Perry gave a nod to this process. “While you’re fighting for a seat at the table,” he said, referencing the controversy over #OscarsSoWhite, “I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.” Below, we’ve rounded up some of Perry’s most well-known homes, and the powerful stories behind them.
The now-billionaire made one of his first investments in Atlanta real estate with the purchase of a parcel in Fairborn, Georgia, in April 2001. He paid just $62,661 for the land and built what he would later tell Ebony magazine was a “testament to the rewards of faith.” Avec Chateau was a 17,252-square-foot behemoth featuring six bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms. “I wanted this house to be vast,” he told the publication. “I wanted to make a statement, not in any grand or boastful way, but to let people know what God can do when you believe.” The 26-room home featured a double-height Italian marble foyer with a large sculpture of a horse, a ballroom-sized “grand salon,” and a paneled library with a crystal chandelier, among other extravagant spaces. Perry listed the property for $3.695 million in 2009. It is unclear whether it ever sold.
The creator of the Madea movie franchise paid $4.3 million for 22 acres of land in the ultraexclusive Beverly Ridge Estates. He then spent many years and many millions building an impressive 24,000-square-foot Tuscan-style villa on the grounds. The luxurious pad features eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, and has played host to a number of A-list celebrities, including Barack Obama, and Oprah, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Perry opened up his home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in early 2020, after they stepped down from their royal duties, a connection widely believed to have been made by their mutual friend Oprah. The property is currently worth around $18 million, according to county records.
Perry’s $9 million purchase of 17 acres along the Chattahoochee River, just outside Atlanta, was a historic one. The property previously belonged to the segregationist Moreton Rolleston, a prominent lawyer and the proprietor of the Heart of Atlanta Motel, a business that refused service to African Americans prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lost a Supreme Court case that declared the act to be unconstitutional that same year. Perry tore down the existing home and spent the next three years constructing a 34,000-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. The palatial residence featured a motor court with a fountain, a parlor with leather walls, a home theater with unique vaulted ceilings, and an underground ballroom with Brazilian cherry flooring. Perry sold the estate to televangelist David Turner for a record-breaking $17.5 million in 2016. Steve Harvey then reportedly bought it for $15 million in 2020.