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 ”