Tyler Henry had his first psychic experience by age 10. By 19, he had his own reality TV series Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry which ran four seasons on E! Entertainment and put him on the map as the go-to medium for an eclectic assortment of celebrities that would include actors, rock stars, rappers, and Olympic athletes, many of them from the LGBTQ community. Part of the charm of the show was watching this decidedly un-Hollywood neophyte paired with celebrities whose work he often had no familiarity. It was a humbling reality check for celebrities accustomed to being recognized and fawned over, having to explain who they are.
As Tyler would begin his trademark scribbling – a process which helps him connect with spirit – messages would come through from their loved ones. It wasn’t long before jaws were dropping, tears flowing and skeptics turning into believers. Think what you will about mediums, it’s hard to argue with the level of success he’s had with two reality TV series, a live tour, two national best-selling books and a waiting list of 300,000 for private one-on-one readings. I had the opportunity to sit down for a Zoom chat with the spirit world’s favorite millennial to discuss a wide range of topics from his new TV show dropping in early 2022, for an as-yet-to-be-disclosed streaming service, the bombshell discovery about his own family, a recent health scare which required emergency surgery, and other cosmic quandaries like who he’d like to play him on Saturday Night Live.
My new show is very different from Hollywood Medium. This one really shows the ins and outs of my everyday life, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep at night. It’s caught me in some of the most vulnerable moments of my life. Because of COVID, we had been doing it virtually which was interesting. I was able to do readings for people across the country, just everyday people, not celebrities like I’d done on Hollywood Medium. And that was really gratifying, to be able to read people who really needed it from different parts of the world. Once it was safe, I was able to travel and knock on people’s doors and surprise them and have meaningful moments.
Do you miss reading celebrities?
I don’t miss it a single bit. There’s a lot less ego involved. It’s a lot easier for me to read everyday people, and I just enjoy it more. It’s where I started and where my passion has always been.
Tyler also revealed that he got some unexpected revelations about his own life while shooting his new show.
I discovered that my mom was taken as a child from her biological parents. So, the show documented how this kind of happened as I figured out who my real family was. The woman who took my mom ended up being a convicted murderer who killed two people and went to prison for 30 years. It has been a very interesting journey to say the least. I had a feeling that it was very possible that the woman wasn’t my mom’s biological mother. But anytime I would mention it to her, she would say, “Oh no, but we look too much alike, so we have to be related.” But I had gut feelings throughout my childhood that something was kind of off. It wasn’t until we took a 23andMe test and got the genetic results, where I came back Italian and realized “uh oh, I thought I was French.” So, it just goes to show, mediums don’t know everything. There are still blind spots where it can be difficult to read ourselves.
Speaking of blind spots, while Tyler also is a medical intuitive, meaning he’s able to detect health issues in people he’s reading, his own health scare in early 2020, took him completely by surprise.
I was getting ready to do a live show and was actually lying in bed and I felt some chest pain and very quickly realized it was not the result of a spirit coming through. It was a medical thing. I was rushed to the hospital, went into emergency surgery and they found that my lung had basically been resting near my heart. I was in bad shape. They told me I had the lungs of a 70-year-old. Which was not reassuring. But I suspect that I had COVID very early on and that might have been why my lung collapsed in the first place. Even to this day, I’m still kind of healing and processing all that, and I still get shortness of breath.
How is the taping schedule for your show? Is that wearing on you?
It’s been good. We finished up a few months ago, but it was a very intensive schedule. They really packed in as many readings as they could in a short period. The readings do take a lot out of me, so I’ve had to pace myself. When I must do seven in a week, by the seventh one I’m ready to tap out. But I do think it makes me better at what I do, and I find that growth is on the other side of my comfort zone. Not knowing who I’m reading entails handling a certain level of discomfort on a regular basis. So that’s been a big part of my job – just trusting that what will happen will happen.
Seeing as how Tyler was only 19 when he started his first TV show and from a conservative background, I was curious to find out how his sexual orientation was addressed.
Being gay was acknowledged from the get-go on the show in scenes with my mom and Charlie (the driver), however it was never much of a focus because Hollywood Medium was 95% readings and celebrity stories. Producers always encouraged me to be myself. Everyone involved insisted on keeping everything real, and with that convey the honest reality of a person new to Hollywood with a unique talent who just happens to be gay. Though not everyone can relate to being a medium, everyone can relate to feeling like an outsider at some point. To embrace what makes us different requires courage to be who we are despite those who don’t understand us. Sticking true to that individuality allowed me to share four seasons of an incredible show that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible if I stayed in the psychic closet. Being able to convey who I was in my orientation made sharing that vulnerability even more meaningful.
Tyler tells me that it is important to be true to himself and to honor what makes him different from the people around him, and that the same sentiment applies to being a medium as it does to being gay.
I had to honor who I was and what I felt organically despite criticism, despite people not being supportive. If anything, being gay was a good trial run for some of the difficulties I would deal with coming out of the psychic closet. If anything, it’s just made me more of an individual, more myself, and I love that. When we can honor who we are, there’s great power in that. Similarly, with being gay and being a medium, these were things I was bullied for. Yet today those are the very things people applaud me for. That was only the result of having the courage to embrace those things.
It seems only natural that, after all the work Tyler has done delivering messages from the spirit world that the dearly departed would show their appreciation. Tyler explains that’s how he met his soul mate, Clint Godwin.
Clint’s grandfather had passed away tragically shortly before we met. Clint contacted me. I gave him a reading and relayed why his grandfather had passed away. He sadly took his own life. I just shared the reasoning that came through with him and he validated that had been what his family had long suspected. And from there we just had an immediate bond. I knew the second I saw him. I was like, this is my person. And that’s only grown stronger every day over five years now. I think it’s very necessary with the nature of my job to have a strong support system when I come home. My boyfriend has just been the best human being on the planet. I am very lucky.
Tyler goes on to explain their dynamic and what makes the relationship work.
I would say, if anything he very much is not Hollywood. He’s not about fame. He’s not interested in attention. He likes to fly under the radar. Which is good, especially because so much attention, both good and bad, gets placed on me, he very much is just kind of quietly supportive, which is really helpful. We’re both very similar in a lot of ways. We’re very quiet, we like our alone time. We don’t have a big social circle. I think it does help to be intuitive in any relationship. And for me, it really has served me throughout my life to get a sense of who is going to resonate in the long run and maybe who isn’t. I certainly don’t get any shortcuts because I’m a medium. But with our relationship, it has been very helpful.
In terms of the afterlife, are there consequences for people who do bad things?
I would say everyone who’s ever come through seems to acknowledge they’ve gone through a process. I call this process a life review. I believe every consciousness sees the ripple effect of how their actions and inactions affect the greater collective. Whether you lived in this life with a conscience or not, I believe when we transition, we see the impact that we’ve had for better or for worse. And we must come to terms with it. I don’t believe it comes from a place of punishment from a judgmental God. I just really believe it’s the result of learning and the result of consciousness expanding in its awareness. So, you can think of it in this life like a drop of water and then when we transition, we kind of become like a vast ocean of consciousness. I think that ultimately lends some degree of acceptance about how we lived and how we died. And through that acceptance they find peace on the other side. But I believe it’s really through that process of understanding that they get there. When we think of punishment or justice, I do think it’s a little more complicated and nuanced than heaven or hell. But there certainly is an accountability that seems to come through resoundingly. And I’ve brought through a lot of people – and some people who maybe didn’t live the best lives or did things that were not kind – and I do believe they reckon with that when they pass away.
Does Tyler filter what comes through on his readings?
There are definitely times where I have a hard time conveying what I need to say. I liken my job to that of a mailman in the sense that I don’t write the letters, I just deliver the message. So, I view it as a responsibility not only to the living person but also the departed person to deliver what I’m getting in a way that’s going to click with the person I’m reading. In a way that will do the message justice, so to speak. And so, with that, I have to kind of not filter myself, but simultaneously be diplomatic and considerate of people’s emotions and feelings and what they might be going through. It is a fine line, and I am always learning and growing and figuring out how to do that better. I think I kind of got thrust into a situation very early on as a teenager, being 19 years old and then getting a TV show where I was put in situations where I had to navigate some very serious topics that required a lot of diplomacy. I don’t think I had the maturity to the extent that I will 10 or 20 years from now. But I do my best.
In 2016, Tyler read Matt Lauer, and was aware of what was coming. For those unfamiliar with the story, Matt Lauer was fired as the anchor of NBC’s Today amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
I said to Matt that his father was coming through, saying he would need to step away from his current job. And then I gave the month in which he needed to step away. And I said, you know, this is just necessary. So that’s kind of the inside scoop. In all honesty, I didn’t fully know why. I was just kind of relaying this change that I saw happening and around the time in which it would. And we obviously know the rest of that story. It’s also not my job to judge the person I’m reading. What I’ve learned is that everybody is human. Everybody has things they’re not proud of, everybody has things they can do better. And when I’m reading somebody, I must come from a place of compassion despite what’s going on in that person’s life. And that can be the most challenging part – not applying judgment to what I might be seeing or feeling.
Do you get recognized a lot when you’re out in public?
A good amount. Even with a mask on, I think my voice is so “up here,” people are like “oh it’s you!” And then you know I’m very smiley, you know I smile with my eyes. So, people recognize that a lot. But I love it and it’s nice to see the impact the E! show [Hollywood Medium] had on people. It’s so much more than just like “oh, I’m a fan.” It’s more about what the work represents.
Being a public figure in anything ideological – be it politics or religion – is very polarizing. What I do falls into the religious category for a lot of people. And so, I’ve had to deal with a lot of criticism. And that can be very painful. Being under a microscope. But I have to remember why I do the work, why I started when I was 16. I was graduating early and trying to become a hospice nurse. For me, it has always been about leaving people better than I found them. And that’s never changed. I try to focus on that, but it can be very difficult.
The grieving process when someone dies is a natural process of mourning a person’s physical absence. But it can certainly be a very hard process for many.
I think it’s normal to grieve the physical absence of a person. I always say readings are never a replacement for the loved one being here. They may substantiate the idea that there’s a continuation of consciousness. Grief is a natural part of life and sadly suffering is a very real part of life. In my own life I have experienced great grief – physical loss. I have not wanted to get out of bed in the morning because I’ve lost someone or an animal. And that’s coming from a medium. I think grief is a natural process of mourning that physical absence – even if you know that there’s a spiritual connection. It may dampen the blow a little bit, but it certainly doesn’t act as a replacement for their presence.
Tyler’s interview with the one and only Larry King, was like a tennis match. I remember watching that interview and feeling like I was on the edge of my seat because the questions kept coming, one after another. Tyler seemed unflappable.
We got off on a very interesting foot. I went into the restroom right before my interview. I open the door and see this shadowy figure standing there, holding something … and he turns around and it’s Larry King peeing. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we both screamed. Then he said, “Tyler, I thought you were psychic. You should know I was in here.” Not only did I have to see Larry in that position, but then I had to go into an interview with him. That was how we met, and it will forever be seared into my consciousness. Obviously, he’s an icon and skepticism was an important part of his life just by virtue of being a journalist. And I didn’t mind that one bit. I think he asked some great questions that a lot of people never did. He was supposed to be a guest on my show during Season 4, but Larry passed away before we got the chance to do it unfortunately. He was a lovely man. He spent his whole life pursuing answers. And so, I hope wherever he is at, he got them.
After some weighty topics, I decided to end things on a light note by asking Tyler if he’s ever been parodied on Saturday Night Live. He replied that he hadn’t, but that he’d consider it an honor. When I asked which cast member he’d like to impersonate him, he didn’t hesitate.
Oh Kate McKinnon, absolutely. She’s got the hair.
Photos: Sergio Garcia
Last modified: December 21, 2021