In his first television interview since announcing to the world that he is a gay man in March, Ricky Martin sat down with Oprah to talk about his sexuality, his decision to come out, and his new memoir, Me.
When Oprah asked Ricky why he decided to come out on March 29th, the singer said the decision had everything to do with his children, twins Matteo and Valentino. Ricky explained that for years he tried to deny who he really was. "I grew up in a very conservative world, a very conservative culture and my beliefs were telling me that my feelings were wrong, that my attraction towards men was evil," he sad. "So I would try to deny those emotions as much as I could. I thought I was a really bad person, that I wasn’t enough."
Oprah asked Ricky if he always knew he was homosexual, and he said, "Definitely! I always felt attraction since I was four or five years old. When I came back from school, they’d ask me, 'Do you have a girlfriend,' and it was like, 'I don’t understand what you mean.' "
When he was 21, Ricky came out to his mom. "My mom asked me 'Are you in love?' and she said 'Is it with a man?' I said, 'Yes mom, it’s with a man,' " Ricky recalls. His mother told him that she loved him and asked him to give her a hug. "She told me everything was going to be fine," explained Ricky.
Then Oprah brought up a page in his book where Ricky talks about how great it was having sex with a woman. Ricky confirmed that sex with a woman felt good, but he wanted to set the record straight about one thing: he likes men. "I am not bisexual. I am a gay man," he declared proudly. "When I was with a woman, everything was perfect. But the most important thing was that people loved to see me with women, so I was like, 'I’m going to make this work.' "
When Oprah brought up a Barbara Walters interview that Ricky did in 2000, Ricky explained why he didn’t answer her point blank question about his sexuality. "I just wasn’t ready. It wasn’t my moment," he explained. And while he says he has a lot of respect for Walters as a journalist, he added, "She knocked me out. Everybody has the right to privacy but she kept going and going and going."
Ricky explained that constantly being asked if he was gay made him apprehensive to actually come out and tell the truth. "Because it was treated in very scandalous way and people were mocking my sexuality and I thought: 'I think I hate myself.' "
The experience taught Ricky that timing is everything when it came to making the announcement about his sexuality. “When someone isn’t ready we mustn’t force somebody to come out. Come out whenever you’re ready. You have to go through a spiritual process and then when you do, it feels amazing!”
Ricky, who revealed he’s in an “amazing” relationship right now, didn’t seem to regret much, except one thing: “If I knew how amazing it was going to feel [to come out], trust me, I would have done this 10 years ago.”