«I was just not ready to come out.»
By Lindsay Lowe
Ricky Martin opened up about feeling “violated” when Barbara Walters confronted him about his sexuality in a 2000 interview.
In the televised interview, which took place a decade before the singer came out publicly, Walters addressed rumors that were circulating at the time about Martin being gay.
«You could stop these rumors,» Walters told him. «You could say, as many others have, ‘Yes, I am gay,’ or you could say, ‘No, I’m not,’ or you could leave it as you are, ambiguous.»
At the time, Martin looked uncomfortable with the question, and he eventually replied, “I just don’t feel like it.”
Looking back, Martin, 49, recalled how much that moment threw him.
«When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid,” Martin told People in a cover interview for its 2021 Pride issue. «There’s a little PTSD with that.»
«A lot of people say, what would you do differently?» he said, before adding, «Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview. It would’ve been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing. 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.»
He echoed these thoughts in a 2018 interview on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”
«Have you seen that video? It’s horrible, to be honest,” he said. “I felt like she was knocking, like, punch after punch after punch — it was really uncomfortable, to be honest. But then again I look at it, and I’m like, why didn’t I say yes back then? Just say yes, I’m gay, who cares, you know what I’m saying?”
Walters has since expressed regret for asking that interview question.
«In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” she told the Toronto Star in 2010, adding that looking back, she felt it was «an inappropriate question.»
Martin came out publicly in 2010. He is now married to painter Jwan Yosef and is the father of four kids: twins Matteo and Valentino, born in 2008; Lucia, 2; and Renn, 19 months.
“There’s moments where I want 10 more,” he said. «And then there are those mornings where everybody’s crying, and I’m like, ‘OK, maybe we’re fine at six.'»
«Listen, I became a daddy when I was 35; it’s not the same thing when you’re 48,» he added. «You need the energy! And I’m strong, trust me, I’m healthy — I’m carrying two babies at the same time and the stroller and the backpack — but it’s a lot. It’s a big responsibility.»
This story was originally published on TODAY.com.