Have Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry ended their friendship? According to the Daily Mail, the pair’s friendship is now strained over work.
Oprah and Tyler have been friends since 2001. Tyler has three shows — For Better or Worse, Love Thy Neighbor and The Haves and the Have Nots — on Oprah’s OWN Network, which have helped with the network’s viewership.
A source close to the two tells the site that the once practically inseparable pair barely speak to each other now unless it’s regarding business. So what triggered their fallout? A source suggests,
‘Oprah was very involved in watching Tyler develop them creatively and they even shot promos together with her as Miss Sophia from The Color Purple and he as Madea. But that relationship has soured in the last six months because Oprah finds Tyler difficult to work with and he doesn’t take constructive criticism well at all.
Allegedly, things grew tense when Oprah suggested Perry hire some additional script writers to help develop his shows, particularly the top-rated drama The Have and the Have Nots. A source says,
That’s when Oprah finally got to see a side of Tyler she hadn’t experienced yet. He resisted her feedback, the same way he resists the feedback of critics and media people who chastise his work, and became extremely defensive with her. He told her, “Aren’t the shows delivering ratings for the network? Well, then let me do what I do and you can keep your focus group research to yourself”.
Read more, via the Daily Mail below.
Winfrey is said to have reminded Perry that the reason he approached her about doing a deal at OWN was because he lost his TV deal at TBS.
When the former playwright first launched his sitcoms Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (2006) and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns (2008) at TBS, he scored huge ratings and the network created a new fully-staffed urban division just to manage his programming. By the time his third sitcom For Better or Worse came around in 2011 – his shows had dipped drastically in the ratings and TBS laid off its entire urban division.
‘Tyler didn’t leave TBS because he wanted to go to OWN. His deal with TBS wasn’t renewed because his shows had stopped generating ratings and Tyler wouldn’t take network feedback to help save them when they tried to offer it.
‘So when his contract was up, they weren’t interested in re-signing it.
‘Oprah basically had to remind him, “you needed me as much as I needed you when we decided to do this partnership and don’t forget that”,’ tells the source.
The professional squabble caused the two to stop communicating as much personally.
The source adds: ‘Gone were the days of them having long phone conversations and texting late into the night.’
But things went from bad to worse when Winfrey caught wind of a feature story on Perry in the December 28, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.
With a headline that read: ‘The Brand Keeping Oprah in Business.’
Winfrey was outraged by the narrative presented in the article, especially because she conceded to be interviewed for the piece.
‘She knows Tyler is a micromanaging control freak and she felt that he was aware of the story’s title and didn’t make sure it was killed.
‘She believed it was done in spite and has told Gayle and her other close friends, she’s putting space between she and Tyler,’ says the source.
During the 2015 Christmas holiday, Winfrey took her longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham, best friend Gayle King and her two children, Hollywood director Ava DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo and his wife and children – along with her niece for a vacation together in Fiji.
However, absent from the trip was her regular vacation buddy, Perry.
‘She just didn’t want him there. She is not happy with the place their friendship is in and decided she didn’t want any awkward moments on vacation,’ the source says.
‘Perry did however have a massive bouquet of flowers delivered to their residence in Fiji on Gayle’s birthday.’
During press rounds to promote the new season of The Have and the Have Nots in New York earlier this month, Perry told attendees at a private press dinner: ‘I need to clear up that New York Magazine headline.
‘I’m not keeping Oprah in business. She was in business long before I was even doing I am doing and she was success before I was working in entertainment, so I just needed to say that.’
Only time will tell if the two friends will patch things up. In the meantime, they’re keeping things professional and focusing on the work.
Oprah and Tyler became friends when he was invited to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2001.
Winfrey interviewed Perry about his rags to riches story – from being homeless to touring playwright to Hollywood box office gold.
Oprah nor Tyler’s camp have yet to comment.
Update #2: Gayle King, Oprah’s best friend, denies reports that Oprah and Tyler are feuding. See her response on Instagram: