By Kathleen Archambeau
â€śIf I knew how good it was gonnaâ€™ feel, I would have come out 10 years ago.â€ť - Ricky Martin
Born Enrique Martin Morales in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin began his career performing in the boy band Menudo from ages 13-17. Today, 40 year-old Ricky Martin is an out gay man, international pop star, songwriter, actor, author and award-winning humanitarian. Following a recent appearance on the FOX TV show, Glee, Martin will expand his theater credits in the musical revival of Evita, opening on Broadway, April 2012.
When Ricky Martin was chosen to sing â€śLa Copa de la Vidaâ€ť from his fourth album Vuelve for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the solo performance catapulted him onto the world stage. Ricky Martinâ€™s song stopped the show at the 41st Grammy Awards where he won for Best Latin Pop Album. In 1999, Martin sold over 22 million copies of his first album in English, Ricky Martin, and embarked upon a year-long Livin' La Vida Loca tour.
Itâ€™s not widely known that he established the FundacĂon de Ricky Martin, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of children. Martin is an avid spokesperson against the human trafficking of children. For his humanitarian work, Martin has been given Billboardâ€™s Spirit of Hope Award, the ALMA Award and the International Humanitarian Award. For this work, the US Department of State in 2005 named Martin one of its Heroes in Ending Modern-Day Slavery.
From 2007-2010, Ricky Martin escaped the glare of the media and the relentless questions â€“ are you or arenâ€™t you? He ventured to India and that spiritual journey led him to eventually come out. Many have criticized Ricky Martin for not coming out sooner. To this, he has responded, â€śNo one should be forced to come outâ€¦Denial is very powerful.â€ť Coming from a culture and a religion where being gay is forbidden, it took Ricky a long time to acknowledge his sexual orientation, even to himself. He would have sex with a man and move on quickly the next day, trying to put the experience out of his mind. At 35, Ricky Martin was â€śfinally ready to accept my truthâ€¦â€ť However, he didnâ€™t â€śown it andâ€¦didnâ€™t feel the need to tell everyone else.â€ť His autobiography, Me, broke the silence. Following the 2010 release of Me, he launched the MĂşsica + Alma + Sexo World Tour in 2011. In interviews, he declared, â€śMy kids gave me the strength to come outâ€¦I wanted them to be proud of their dad, I wanted them to be proud of themselves. Of their familyâ€¦I think family is based on love. I am part of a modern family.â€ť
Today, Martin lives with his twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, in Florida. Currently, heâ€™s dating Puerto Rican economist Carlos GonzĂˇlez Abella whom he lauds, saying, â€śThe most important thing, he loves my children.â€ť As for gay marriage, heâ€™s publicly declared, â€śI pay my taxes. I want that optionâ€¦I donâ€™t want more rights than you. I want the same.â€ť Fame has made Ricky Martin a reluctant spokesperson for