10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ricky MartinPublished on December 13, 2016.
This Latin singer was a huge Spanish sensation in the ’90s. Ricky Martin rose to fame with hit singles like “The Cup of Life,” “Shake Your Bon-Bon,” and “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” which became one of the best selling singles of all time after it sold 8 million copies! His first English-language album, titled Ricky Martin, also garnered a lot of success and became one of the best selling albums of all time. Martin hasn’t been able to reach the same level of success as he did back then, but he’s still doing quite well for himself. He just released a new chart topping single and announced a Las Vegas residency in the spring of 2017. In honor of his upcoming 45th birthday, here’s a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about Ricky Martin!
10. Catholic Childhood
Ricky Martin was born Enrique Martin Morales in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is the only child of Enrique Martin, a psychologist, and Nereida Morales, an accountant. His parents split when he was only 2-years-old and both went on to have more children with other partners. He started noticing he was attracted to males at a very young age, around three or four. “I felt something really magnetic about boys. And then I thought, no, I’m not supposed to be feeling this.’ But it was very powerful,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. Martin was raised as a Catholic and strongly believed in what the church taught. He was even an altar boy! “I thought, I’m supposed to like girls, because that’s what the church says, and that’s what my priest told me…Unfortunately, according to my faith, what I was feeling was evil, and I struggled.”
9. Career Beginnings
Before he went into singing, Ricky Martin was an actor! Well, kind of. He started appearing in commercials at the age of 10. This is where he gained the confidence to go out on stage. When he decided to switch gears and start singing, he joined a boy band called “Menudo” when he was 12. He auditioned for the band several times before landing a permanent spot first. Like many other boy bands, they had a young teen audience and when the boys turned 16 they were automatically replaced by someone new. The band was quite successful as they toured the globe and even sang in several different languages. Martin stayed with the group for five years before he broke off on his own. In interviews, he’s said that he’s extremely grateful for the experience, but he also regrets it in a sense because he feels like it “robbed him of his childhood.”
8. Becoming a Symbol
Before Ricky Martin came out to his fans, a big part of his career was attracting women and being a “sex symbol” for audiences. “I became a rock ‘n’ roll slash sex symbol at a very young age. I was thinking: what do I have to do to get the attention of the girls? It was my job to move my hips, because then they scream, and that meant I was successful, like the rest of the guys. Was I ready for that? I don’t know. But that’s what I was supposed to go through, according to my karma,” he said. When he turned 13, he became obsessed with being accepted. But he was living a lie and it took a toll on him.
Martin is the father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, who were born via surrogate in 2008. This adoption and the absence of a romantic relationship fueled rumors of Martin’s sexuality leading up to his official coming out in 2010. He later said that his children were what inspired him to come out and that he didn’t want to live a lie while raising them. Martin raised the boys all by himself in New York City and they are now 8-years-old! Obviously, Martin is extremely private when it comes to his personal life so the twins are hardly ever photographed. Their appearances in the media are tightly controlled and few and far between. He did open up about their life in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres and revealed that they are trilingual! The boys are raised in a Spanish speaking household, but are also fluent in English and attend a French school. That’s impressive!
Before he began shaking his hips and singing top 40 hits on stage, he was an actor! In fact, he wasn’t just an actor — he was a heartthrob on Spanish television. He first appeared on the show Alcanzar una Estrella for two seasons. He has ventured into American television with roles on soap operas like General Hospital and on the short-lived sitcom, Getting By, in the mid-90s! After stating in an interview back in ’96 that he’d love to take on Broadway, he was offered the role of Marius Pontmercy in Les Miserables, and also held a role in the Broadway production, Evita.
5. Dark Period
Ricky Martin’s career was at its absolute peak in the ’90s, but with that came a hectic work schedule and constant media attention. During interviews he was constantly heckled about his sexuality, it was a never ending subject. In the early 2000s, he abruptly canceled a concert in Buenos Aires, and went home. “I didn’t like who I was. I moped around my house and had very little sense of humor,” he said. Martin was never clinically diagnosed as being depressed, but his behavior worried a lot of friends and family. “It was not diagnosed. But a lot of people around me were like: ‘Oh my God, we lost him…’ But rather than depression, I think it was a touch of rebellion, you know? It was the first time in 10 years that I was relaxing in my house, waking up when I wanted, watching movies until the sun came out, going to a club if I wanted to. It was the first time in my life I was not dealing with a schedule.”
4. Ground Breaking Artist
Ricky Martin broke a lot of barriers when he first started, especially with his 1998 album, Vuelve. He was one of the first Latin pop artists to make it onto the Billboard Top 40 charts. In 1999 he even performed at the Grammy Awards and won Best Latin Pop Album. He paved the way for Latin singers looking to reach mainstream listeners and helped pave the way for following Latin artists like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Enrique Iglesias. When he released his first English-language album in 1999, he shot into super stardom.
3. Coming Out
For the first lag of Ricky Martin’s career there was a lot of speculation about his sexuality. He skillfully dodged the question for decades! Finally in 2010 he confronted the subject head on in a post on his website: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” He also admitted that he spent a lot of time fearing the topic because he was afraid of rejection and didn’t know how his fans would react, but when he finally opened up he felt extremely liberated and was welcomed by the LGBT community with open arms. “These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed,” he wrote. Since opening up to his fans, it’s done a lot of good for him and society. He is now a U.N. activity for marriage equality and AIDS treatment and prevention.
2. Relationship with Jwan Yosef
The Latin singer recently opened up about his new relationship with art collecter, Jwan Yosef, and revealed that the happy couple are now engaged! They met when Martin was looking for art. He saw a piece of Yosef’s work and absolutely loved it, so he contacted him and once they met — the rest is history! The couple now live together and are raising Martin’s twin boys together. During an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Martin revealed that he is the one who proposed: “I proposed. I was really nervous, but I got on my knees and I took out the little metal box I just had it in a little velvet pouch and instead of saying, ‘Will you marry me?’ he said, ‘I said, ‘I got you something!’ Bad. And then he was like, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘I want to spend my life with you’ and he was like, ‘What is the question?,’ ‘Would you marry me?’ That’s it.”
1. More Children
In an interview with Linda Robson, Martin divulged that he wants more children! The almost 45-year-old father of two boys said he would love to expand his family and add a daughter: “I’m looking for daddy’s little girl,” he said. From what we’ve seen with him raising Valentino and Matteo, he’d be a great father figure for any little girl.