Tyler Perry helps stranded couple

Tyler Perry has agreed to pay the $14,000 medical bill and travel costs of a couple stranded in Mexico.

The 50-year-old star stepped in after reading about the plight of Stephen Johnson, who fell ill with pancreatitis and diabetes while onboard a Carnival Dream cruise ship with fiancee Tori Austin.

Tyler Perry

The holidaymaker was urged to seek treatment and spent three days in intensive care at a hospital in Progreso, Mexico, but when he was on the mend, he and his partner were presented with a huge bill which they were unable to pay as they had neither health nor travel insurance.

“It’s been a nightmare. We just want to come home. [It’s] hell. I very much so am a hostage.”

— T.I.

Tori asked if they could work out a payment plan once they were back home in the US but the request was denied and they were barred from leaving the hospital.

The woman also claimed staff locked windows to stop them escaping and threatened to call the police if they tried to leave.

She said: “It’s been a nightmare. We just want to come home. [It’s] hell. I very much so am a hostage.”

Image: Tori Austin Stephen Johnson
Tori Austin and her fiancee Stephen Johnson

According to KTRK-TV, Tyler heard about their struggles on ‘Good Morning America’ and reached out to help.

Tori wrote on Facebook on Sunday (Nov 24): “Today I am thankful for and will always be thankful for Tyler Perry. My mom was also a huge fan of his.”

According to NBC News, as of Saturday (Nov 23), the hospital had not received the money but noted international transfers can take several days to come through.

It is currently unclear when the couple will return home but Tori said on Facebook they had been told they would be allowed to leave the hospital on Monday (Nov 25).