Singer Ricky Martin claims that he is still suffering from PTSD following a disastrous interview with Barbara Walters in 2000 where she asked him to come out as gay. He said “I feel violated,” when asked about it.
Martin would go on to admit he was gay ten years later in 2010. He was very cagey about his sex life and very hesitant to bring it out into the open because of the perceived stigma.
When Walters, 91, cornered him on it during the interview, Martin felt panicked. He contends he still has anxiety over the interview when he thinks about it today.
The former “Menudo” singer opened up to People magazine in celebration of Pride Month concerning the rumors that swirled at the time that he was gay and how Walters thought she was helping him by giving him the opportunity to lay that to rest.
(Video Credit: ET Canada)
“You could stop these rumors,” Walters admonished him. “You could say, ‘Yes I am gay or no I’m not.'”
Martin was still figuring out whether he was gay or not at the time and ducked the question: “I just don’t feel like it.”
“When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid,” he stated still unnerved by the shock of the unexpected question 11 years later. “There’s a little PTSD with that.”
“It’s not black and white,” he said. “It’s filled with colors. When I was dating women, I was in love with women. It felt right, it felt beautiful. You can’t fake chemistry – the chemistry was there with them. I wasn’t misleading anyone.”
Walters has, for her part, acknowledged that the question was “inappropriate” according to the Toronto Star. That admission came out shortly after Martin disclosed he was gay.
“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 confessed. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”
But looking back on the interview, Martin believes that he might take a different tack if he could go back: “A lot of people say, what would you do differently?” he remarked. “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.”
Martin’s reflections on coming out contain regret that he didn’t use his fame to help out young people who struggle with their sexuality as well: “There are many, many kids out there that don’t have someone to look up to. All they have around them is people telling them, ‘What you’re feeling is evil,'” he stated. “But, you can’t force someone to come out. But if you have an egg and you open it from the outside, only death comes out. But if the egg opens up from the inside, life comes out.”
The “Livin’ La Vida Loca” singer is 49 now and married to Syrian-Swedish artist Jwan Yosef. He has four children. Martin is on the cover of People magazine this month proclaiming: “I am a man with no secrets.”
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