Ricky Martin Regrets Not Coming Out During His Iconic Barbara Walters Interview
Ricky Martin recently stopped by Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen while the Bravo talk show has been filming in Los Angeles. While he was there, the singer answered some questions from fans, one of them about his iconic 2000 interview with Barbara Walters. (Her Ricky Martin interview is below in case you need a refresher.)
A WWHL viewer asked, “What was going through your mind when Barbara Walters asked you about your sexuality in that very famous interview? Did you know that question was coming?”
Back in 2000, when Walters conducted the interview, Martin was not yet openly gay. But after she asked the singer to address rumors about his sexuality and he shied away, Walters persisted. “You could stop these rumors,” she remarked. “You could say, as many artists have, ‘Yes I am gay,’ or you could say, ‘No I’m not,’ or you could leave it as you are: ambiguous.”
Martin stood his ground, thanking Walters for giving him the opportunity to address the rumors but letting her know that he “didn’t feel like speaking to them at that particular time.”
Fast forward to WWHL, some 18 years later, as Martin recalls the emotions he felt then.
“Have you seen that video? It’s horrible, to be honest,” he admitted to the WWHL audience, referring to the 2000 Ricky Martin interview. “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 just say yes back then? Like, ‘Yes, I’m gay,’ who cares? You know what I’m saying?”
“She was just doing her job. Everybody was asking that question, and she needed to ask it,” he adds. “I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no, and I just left it open for everyone to think whatever they wanted to think, and I insist, why didn’t I say yes? And I believe everyone should just say, ‘Yes, it’s OK.’ If you are, say yes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.”
Martin is now living his life out loud and proud. On March 29, 2010, he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in a post on his official website: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” Martin said that “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.”
Beginning in April 2016, Martin began dating Syrian-Swedish painter Jwan Yosef. The two announced their engagement on November 16, 2016, and in January of this year Martin announced he and Yosef are now married.
To this day, Martin continues to use his platform and act as a a leader in the LGBT community. It was just announced that he will return as a special guest to the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 12.
“Ricky Martin is a true icon who has been a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community and is one of the most visible out entertainers in the world,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. “We are thrilled to welcome another global legend on our stage at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles — it will truly be a night to remember.”
In 2011, Martin was given the Vito Russo Award. Russo was a founding member of GLAAD, and the award is presented to a media professional in the LGBTQ community who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. This year, the Vito Russo award will be given to The Handmaid’s Tale actress Samira Wiley.