Tyler Perry was "running from poverty" during the early years of his career.
The 50-year-old star - who is now one of the best-paid men in the entertainment industry - has admitted that his relentless worth ethic stems from his modest beginnings in New Orleans.
Tyler - who has been with his partner, model Gelila Bekele, since 2009 - shared: "For 10, maybe 15 years, I got lost in the madness of it. I didn't want to date, I didn't want kids, I didn't want anything until I'd reached a place where I felt financially comfortable. I was running from poverty."
Asked whether he now feels financially comfortable, he told the Times newspaper: "No. I still feel unsafe, like I'm still too close to it.
"I know, it's crazy. I could stop working right now, live the rest of my life and never have to worry about a penny, but I still feel like I'm not far enough away."
Despite his fame and influence, Tyler doesn't have any desire to move into the political world.
The filmmaker said his attitude towards politics is similar to that of his showbiz pal Oprah Winfrey, who has also been urged to become more involved in decision-making.
He explained: "For the same reason Oprah wouldn't: the nastiness of it, the dirtiness of it, the lies.
"Everyone who goes into it who really wants to do good gets eaten alive. It's just such a dark and nasty business, especially right now - I've never seen anything like this in my 50 years.
"It would cost too much for my soul, life, spirit. I watched first-hand what Michelle and Barack went through. Seeing the toll that took on them, I wouldn't wish that on anybody."