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Livin’ la vida loca as a proud gay man, the once-clos­eted pop star re­ceives our Le­gend Award

Af­ter taking shel­ter in the shad­ows as a clos­eted pop su­per­star, Ricky Martin has learnt to em­brace his sex­u­al­ity and shine a light for the LGBT+ com­mu­nity

Burst­ing on to the pop scene al­most two decades ago, Ricky Martin sent tem­per­a­tures soar­ing with his good looks, toned torso and, of course, hyp­notic hip- thrust­ing. The wet- and- wild mu­sic video for his 1999 banger Livin’ La Vida Loca ap­peared to be the per­fect in­tro­duc­tion to this red- blooded, Latino la­dykiller, leav­ing a trail of women in his wake.

At least, that’s what mu­sic bosses wanted us to be­lieve.

Born and raised on the Caribbean is­land of Puerto Rico, the singer had pre­vi­ously only re­leased al­bums in Spanish. Cross­ing over into the English- speak­ing mar­ket, Ricky hit the big time, spark­ing a “Latino ex­plo­sion” in Amer­ica and en­joy­ing mam­moth record sales.

He even earned the seal of ap­proval from Madonna, when they recorded a duet to­gether. Ricky should have been the hap­pi­est man on the planet, but he wasn’t.

The heart­throb was liv­ing a lie. He was a gay man ter­rifi ed to leave the closet in case it ru­ined his ca­reer. Even his near­est and dear­est ad­vised him to keep his sex­u­al­ity un­der lock and key.

“I was sur­rounded by a lot of peo­ple who loved me, who had been a part of my life for ever, telling me, ‘ Rick, don’t come out, you will lose ev­ery­thing’,” he re­called in an in­ter­view with At­ti­tude ear­lier this year.

Hid­ing be­hind smoke ma­chines and mir­ror balls, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the air cleared and the dis­torted glass cracked, es­pe­cially af­ter a 2000 in­ter­view with US TV host Bar­bara Wal­ters, who awk­wardly and in­ap­pro­pri­ately tried to ex­pose him ( she has since apol­o­gised). Ten years later, Ricky came out in a blog on his web­site, de­scrib­ing him­self as a “for­tu­nate ho­mo­sex­ual man.” And he hasn’t looked back since.

A real fl ag- bearer for the LGBT+ com­mu­nity, Ricky is now the fa­ther of twin boys, Mat­teo and Valentino, born via sur­ro­gate in Au­gust 2008, and re­cently tied the knot with Syr­i­aborn painter Jwan Yosef.

His ca­reer has reached new heights, too, mak­ing a name for him­self in the act­ing world fol­low­ing his scene- steal­ing turn in Ryan Mur­phy’s TV hit Amer­i­can Crime Story: The As­sas­si­na­tion of Gianni Ver­sace.

The Emmy Award- win­ning drama fo­cuses on se­rial killer Andrew Cu­nanan ( played by Dar­ren Criss), the troubled gay hus­tler who gunned down Gianni Ver­sace ( Edgar Ramírez) on the steps of his Mi­ami beach man­sion in July 1997. How­ever, Ricky pro­vided the show’s beat­ing heart as the fash­ion de­signer’s longterm boyfriend An­to­nio D’Amico and went on to score an Emmy Award nom­i­na­tion for his ten­der per­for­mance.

Now liv­ing his life up­side, in­side and very much out as a proud gay man, Ricky is a bona fi de le­gend — one, we hope, who can still shake his hips with the best of them.

Ricky wears tank top, by J. W. An­der­son at Matches Fash­ionNOVEMBER 2018

Words Thomas Stich­bury Pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Du­ran Styling Joseph Kochar­ian “T E R R I F I E D T O L E AVET HE C L OSET I N CASE I T R UI NE D H I S CAREE R , R I CK Y W ASL I V I NG A L I E ”

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