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Ricky Martin Opens Up About Family Life, Coming Out: "I Couldn't Take It Anymore"

For the first time since his brave (but not exactly bombshell) coming-out this spring, Ricky Martin sat down with Oprah Winfrey.

As you can imagine, the talk queen and the newly liberated father of twins had a lot to catch up on.

Starting with...

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What prompted his decision to come out in the first place.

"I couldn't take it anymore, Oprah. It was too painful," he said, adding that it was his children, Valentino and Matteo, who gave him the final push he needed to share his truth with the world.

"Before I decided to become a father, I already accepted who I was. I was happy with who I was. When I held my children, I said, OK, it was time to tell the world."

But he wasn't prepared for the emotions that came with clicking "send" on the blog post heard round the world.

"I felt relieved," he said, adding that he could not stop the floods of tears that came after he revealed he was gay. "I felt free, I felt liberated, I could finally say I loved myself completely.

"For many years, I was trying to pretend I was somebody [else]."

And the ever-prying media didn't do much to help him out. In fact, Martin says it was the constant bombardment of speculation about his sexuality that caused him to wait as long as he did to come out.

"People were mocking my sexuality," he said. "When someone is not ready, you must not force them to come out."

Are you listening, Barbara Walters?

Walters' 2000 interview, in which she infamously would simply not drop the topic of Martin's sexuality, opened the floodgates and seemed to give anyone with a microphone free license to ask him questions about his private life.

"I have a lot of respect for Barbara. She's an amazing journalist, and she was doing her job. But she was beating me up," Martin said. "She knocked me out. She kept on going and going and going. I just wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. It wasn't my moment."

Not that that stopped her any.

"I felt anger afterward because I felt invaded," he said. "I felt violated in many ways. It wasn't the first time I was asked this on television, but this was a major television show."

But what a difference a decade makes. Martin arrived at Oprah's studio fully ready to share some insights into his private life, revealing that he is currently in "a beautiful relationship" and that he shared some passionate and genuine relationships with women in the past.

"I was not gonna start lying and pretending to be someone I was not," he said of his decision to include his relationships with women in his new memoir, Me. "I felt passion. I felt sexual…yes, it felt good. And I'm sure I'm not the only man, the only gay man, that felt attraction to a woman."

However, Martin wants the record to be clear:

"I am not bisexual. I am a gay man. For many years, I thought I was. I was confused then, but when I was with a woman, everything wasn't perfect, but the most important thing is people loved to see me with women."

As for the defining moment when he decided to live freely, he had some help along the way from an unexpected source.

"Madonna said, 'Stop doing interviews, because people already know who you are.' "

It was that advice which led Martin to take a step back from working, take a break and allow himself to see the bigger picture of his life.

"I always wanted to be a father," he said, noting that during his break, he began the process of surrogacy. Today, he's never away from his 2-year-old boys for more than two nights at a time.

"I am mom and I am dad and I'm gonna do my best," he said. "I am part of a modern family."

And what happens when the kids start asking to see their biological mother? Martin said he'd tell them, "You're looking at her."

Seriously, though, "I'm not there yet."

"They will ask me…[I'll say] I wanted you in my life so bad that with the help of God everything lined up for you. I'm gonna start with that."

What's clear is that Martin's children mean the world to him.

"My kids gave me all the strength to come out. They gave me that final push. If I didn't come out for them, what was I going to be teaching them, how to lie? I don't want my family to be based on lies. I want to be transparent to them. I want them to be proud of their dad. I want them to be proud of their family."

As for his coming-out, he says it gave him the greatest sense of peace he's ever known.

"If I knew how amazing it would make me feel, I would've done it 10 years ago."

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