RICKY MARTIN, Puerto Rican singer and heartthrob, born; Grammy Award and Latin Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican pop singer who rose to fame, first as a member of the Latin boy band, Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991. He has sold almost 48 million albums around the world, charting twenty-one top-ten hits on the U.S. Latin Charts, eight of which reached number one, and a total of over thirty hit singles. Martin had been very closeted about his private life, leading to speculation that the singer was Gay.
After the success of “Livin’ la Vida Loca”, Martin’s personal life became a subject of interest due to his large gay following, and he was questioned about his sexual orientation. In a December 2000 interview with The Mirror, Martin was asked to comment on the rumors surrounding his sexuality. He replied: “I don’t think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I’ve slept with or not.”
On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly acknowledged his sexuality in a post on his official website, stating: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” Martin said that “these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”
In 2010, prior to Martin coming out, Barbara Walters expressed some regret for pushing Martin in a 2000 interview to admit if he was gay. The Toronto Star quoted her as saying, “When I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question.”
Martin announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show that he was in a relationship. In 2011, during his acceptance speech of the Vito Russo Award at the 22nd GLAAD Media Awards, Martin publicly thanked his boyfriend, Carlos González Abella, an economist. His relationship with González Abella ended in January 2014.
Martin has also expressed support for Marriage Equality in an interview on Larry King Live, and commented on his experience of being closeted and coming out. “Everything about saying that I am gay feels right…”, Martin stated, adding “if I’d known how good it was going to feel, I would have done it ten years ago.”
Martin delivered a speech at the United Nations Homophobia Conference in November 2012. Beginning April 2016, he started dating Syrian Swedish painter Jwan Yosef, an artist he had been collecting. The two announced their engagement on November 16, 2016 while on The Ellen Show. In 2016, Martin clarified that he is attracted to both men and women, but is only interested in romantic relationships with men so he does not identify as bisexual.
In the wake of the hurricane in Puerto Rico Martin has made several trips to the island to bring millions of dollars in food and supplies to the people there who are struggling there.