Ricky Martin is opening up about an interview with Barbara Walters in 2000 when the journalist put pressure on the singer to address his sexuality, sharing that the moment gave him "PTSD" (post traumatic stress disorder).
The 49-year-old spoke to People about his rise to fame in the nineties, which included dance hits, hip thrusting and lots of attention paid to Martin's love life. Still, he was stunned when Walters spoke so directly to the subject imploring him to "stop these rumors" and say "Yes I am gay or no I'm not," to which Martin responded, "I just don't feel like it." Now, he admitted that he still thinks about it.
"When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid," he said. "There's a little PTSD with that."
It would take Martin 10 years before he came out publicly on his official website — an announcement that was widely covered by the media. The relief he felt after even made him rethink his statement on Walter's program.
"A lot of people say, what would you do differently?" he shared. "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."
Still, the heartthrob admits that his sexuality wasn't an easy subject to grasp, especially amid a rich history of dating women for whom he maintains he had very real feelings for. "Sexuality is one complicated thing," he said. "It's not black and white. 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."
He continued, "A lot of people have said, 'Rick, you were trying to prove yourself, because of fame and being a sex symbol.' Well yeah, it could be. I don't know. Everyone knows you don't have to be a gay man to know that love is complicated. Or to know how confusing attraction can be."
Some of that confusion may also be a result of the lack of LGBTQ representation that came before Martin, which remains top of mind as he makes efforts to be a mentor for younger generations.
"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 said. "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."
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