tough at the top

The surprising role Madonna played in Ricky Martin’s early days as a global superstar

Ricky Martin in a tux!

Ricky Martin was a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show last Thursday. The Latin heartthrob is currently appearing in the acclaimed Apple+ TV series, Palm Royale. It’s his first major acting role since he had a small part in the Gianni Versace American Crime Story show back in 2018.

Clarkson probed Martin about his career, which began at the tender age of 12 when he joined the Latin boy band Menudo. That was in 1984.

Martin established himself as a huge star in the Spanish-speaking pop world. However, it was his first English-speaking album in 1999 (the eponymous Ricky Martin), that turned him into a global superstar.

Hopefully, his earlier stardom with Medudo prepared him for being in the public eye. However, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” pushed his fame to a whole new level. It prompted some advice from the biggest female act on the planet at the time: Madonna.

“She said ‘Make sure this industry doesn’t control you’,” Martin recalled.

Clarkson, herself a successful singer, nodded in agreement, adding that it was easy for one to lose control.

“It’s very easy to get seduced by fame, by the applause,” said Martin. “By the private jets, by the pressure. And she helped me. But I was also lucky because I was surrounded by a lot of people who told me ‘No’ if I needed to hear ‘No’. And that’s very important in this industry.”

“I consider myself very lucky. And spirituality is something else that helped me push through. I’m a survivor. I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”

It is kinda crazy to think that Martin has been performing in front of huge audiences for that long!

Martin went on to talk about Palm Royale and his co-stars. He appears alongside Kristen Wiig, Carol Burnett, and Laura Dern.

He says he felt very “nervous” about acting alongside Burnett, who is a comedy legend. However, he said she, Wiig and Dern had all been hugely supportive and “wonderful”.

He said the show is “about trying to fit in”, which is something most people can relate to.

“We all want to fit in, some way, somehow.”

Martin recently presented a GLAAD Award to Bad Bunny. He went on to praise the star for being a proud LGBTQ+ ally, noting how unapologetic Bad Bunny is in speaking out for queer people and challenging gender norms. Martin says he found it a lot harder when he was younger to be his true self.

Family man

Martin came out as gay in a message on his website in 2010. He was already a father to twin boys, born in 2008. He began dating Jwan Yosef in 2016 and confirmed in January 2018 that they had married. They became co-parents to two further children, a daughter Lucia, and another son, Renn.

Martin and Yosef announced their separation and divorce last year, although they continue to be co-parents to their children.

Before you go, let’s relive that moment when Ricky Martin caught worldwide attention with a 1999 Grammys performance…

That night was possibly the time Madonna shared her advice. She surprised him by sneaking up on him at the Grammy’s post-show press conference.

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