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90s pop icon admits his father encouraged him to come out as gay

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90s pop icon admits his father encouraged him to come out as gay

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Ricky Martin revealed his father’s role in his coming out story in a recent interview (Picture: Shutterstock)

90s pop-star Ricky Martin recently revealed he decided to make his sexuality public thanks to a conversation he had with his father.

Martin, 52 – who’s sold more than 70million records worldwide and is known for hits like Livin’ La Vida Loca, Maria, and She Bangs – officially came out as gay in 2010 at the age of 38.

He posted a letter to X officially confirming his sexuality, and in a new interview on Sirius XM’s Andy Cohen Live, Martin revealed that it was one of the best things he’s ever done.

‘I wish I could come out 20 times, it felt amazing. I started crying like a baby,’ he said.

He also spoke out for the first time about his father’s role in the decision. Martin’s father, a former psychologist named Enrique Martín Negroni, worried about how the secret might effect his grandchildren. Martin said his father told him, ‘”Rick, you need to come out.”‘

‘When I became a father, he said, “What are you going to teach your kids to lie?”‘ Martin emotionally recalled to Cohen.

Martin’s father (left) told his son that not coming out may teach his children to lie (Picture: Ricky Martin/Instagram)

The Puerto Rican singer is father to twin sons Matteo and Valentino, who he had via surrogacy in 2008, as well as daughter Lucia and son Renn who he shares with ex-husband Jwan Yosef.

He wrote in his coming out letter, in both Spanish and English: ‘To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where (sic) born with.’

Fans and critics had speculated about the Livin’ La Vida Loca singer’s sexuality for years prior to the letter in 2010, causing Martin to repeatedly dodge questions about it in interviews.

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Most famously, Barbara Walters asked him if he was gay on national television in 2000.

Ricky Martin shares two sons, Matteo Martin and Valentino Martin, with ex-husband Jwan Yosef (Picture: FilmMagic/Jason LaVeris)

‘You could stop these rumors,’ Walters said. ‘You could say, “Yes, I am gay, or no, I’m not.”‘ Martin finally answered with a comeback that’s become iconic: ‘Barbara, for some reason, I just don’t feel like it.’

But the famous moment wasn’t easy for Martin, even if it has become a cultural touchstone. He told People in 2021, ‘When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid. There’s a little PTSD with that.’

Martin told Cohen that his decision to evade questions like Walters’ prior to posting the letter was something that the people around him encouraged.

Martin recently appeared on the series Palm Royale on Apple TV+ (Picture: Apple TV+)

He said that his team told him: ‘“You don’t need to share, everybody knows around you, you don’t have to tell the world, your friends know, your family know, why do you need to stand in front of the camera and talk about it?”‘

But the decision to come out was ultimately deeply personal for him: ‘They didn’t understand the importance of it. Now I see it. I understood before they did how important it is, not only for me, but to be a spokesperson.’

Martin also discussed the difficulties of coming out to his family as a teenager, recalling his mother’s struggle with his sexual identity.

Fans had long speculated about Martin’s sexuality prior to his coming out in 2010 (Picture: Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock)

‘When I told my mum when I was 18 years old, she was concerned because she said “oh my God, I just don’t want you to hurt. People out there are really cruel” – and so it took her a minute to accept it,’ the Grammy winner said.

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But Martin’s mother learned to accept her son, even flying to be with him after he came out to the world. He told Cohen, ‘But obviously when I did it, I made sure she was on an aeroplane on her way to see me. I did what I did, I wrote a letter and I tweeted it.’

The decision was partly intended to give struggling LGBTQ+ children someone to look up to, the kind of mentorship Martin told People he lacked in his formative years.

‘There are many, many kids out there that don’t have someone to look up to. All they have around them is people telling them, “What you’re feeling is evil,”‘ he said.

‘But, you can’t force someone to come out. But if you have an egg and you open it from the outside, only death comes out. But if the egg opens up from the inside, life comes out.’

In Martin’s case, it was just a little nudge from his father that allowed him to open up and live a more authentic life.

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