Ricky Martin Recalls Feeling “Violated” By Barbara Walters' Question About His Sexuality

Ricky Martin, who is married to Jwan Yosef, spoke about being afraid to come out during his early days of fame in an interview for People's Pride issue.

By Kaitlin Reilly Jun 02, 2021 9:18 PMTags
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Ricky Martin was "afraid" to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community during the early days of his career. 

In an interview for People's Pride issue, the American Crime Story alum spoke about what it was like to be asked if he was gay on television by Barbara Walters. At the time, Ricky had not yet publicly shared his sexuality. When Barbara asked him to shut down the rumors that he was gay, he initially refused to answer, and eventually said, "I just don't feel like it." 

Ricky came out publicly in 2010, and is now married to the artist Jwan Yosef, who he shares four children with. However, he said that he still has "a little PTSD" when he thinks back on Barbara's invasive question. 

"When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out," the "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer explained to People. "I was very afraid."

Ricky Martin Through the Years

When asked to share what he might do differently, looking back, he admitted that he may have come out during that interview.

Aaron Davidson/Telemundo

"It would've been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing," he shared. "When it comes to my sexuality, when it comes to who I am, I want to talk about what I'm made of, about everything that I am. Because if you hide it, it's a life-or-death situation."

Ricky previously opened up about coming out in a 2018 conversation with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. He explained why it took a lot of courage to make that declaration, which came in the form of a blog post on his website. 

"The thing is that I was surrounded by friends that were telling me, ‘Don't! Don't come out that will be the end of your career,'" the singer recalled. "It was people that love me, people that mean well and people that were just victims of homophobia. You know, I grew up in this culture that told me that my feelings were horrible, that my feelings were evil. And if you add to that, you know, that I was like a heartthrob, like a sex symbol." 


Ultimately, Ricky decided to come out after he had his now 12-year-old twins, Valentino and Matteo, via surrogate. 

"I had my kids, and I said, ‘I have to come out,'" he explained to Trevor at the time. "I mean, I'm not going to lie to these beautiful kids. To lie? No, that's not the point."

Now, the dad gets to live happily in his truth.