¡Viva la Ricky!

Why Gay People Should Get Behind Ricky Martin’s Attempt To Reconquer America

Ricky Martin moved to New York with his partner and two sons this winter to get ready for his reemergence on the American scene, including a Glee appearance, MAC charity campaign with Nicki Minaj and a role as sexy revolutionary Che in the Broadway revival of Evita.

But while any other gay foreign superstars’ attempt to reconquer America would be received fabulously, gay people tend to be divided on the subject on Ricky Martin.

You’ll inevitably meet the queen who knew Ricky was so totally gay when “Livin’ La Vida Loca” blasted him to American fame in 1999—well, yeah, a lot of us had our suspicions.

So why did it take Ricky 11 years to come out of the damned closet? That’s a question he never quite addresses, but one gets the sense that’s he’s a very emotional, yet still private, dude in this new Advocate cover story.

The bon-bon shaker reflects on his memoir Me, released a few months after he came out via Twitter in 2010. Writes the Advocate:

Martin says he hasn’t read the book since it was published. “Exactly a week ago I had it open on my computer and I started reading a paragraph and had to stop,” he says, his voice cracking and his eyes tearing up. “I had to stop. It reminded me of the place I was when I was writing it.” Martin stops, regains his composure, and smiles.

Yes, perhaps he deprived LGBT youth of a gay superstar to idolize, but you can tell it was very difficult for him to be in the closet, and perhaps he was going on his own journey to reconcile his sexuality with his Latin Christian roots.

Let’s cut Ricky a break—he didn’t pull a Ken Mehlman on the gay community, after all—and embrace his return to the American scene.

He may have not been completely honest with us for all those years, but when he talks about playing a revolutionary loosely based on Che Guevara in Evita, you get the sense the Ricky is a sincere hombre.

“I get to feel many things. I can go from anger to love to uncertainty within 30 minutes of the show,” he says. “That’s amazing because that’s what my life has been about for the last three years—feeling. Not sabotaging any kind of emotions. Letting everything just come through me and verbalize it. It’s a very spiritual exercise that I’ll do every night.”

And, perhaps the next chapter of the buff conquistador’s campaign on America will be to infect televisions nationwide. Ryan Murphy certainly would aid and abet:

“He has such star power,” says Murphy [of Martin’s appearance on Glee]. “Even the straight boys in the cast were just gob-smacked by his confidence and said if they ever turned, it would be for Ricky Martin.”

Murphy says Martin was nervous about the acting but nailed every take. In fact, he was so taken with the star’s professionalism that he has spoken with Martin about starring in his own series. “If he’d relocate to L.A., I’d write a TV show for him in a heartbeat.”

What do you guys think a Ricky Martin-carried pilot would look like? We’re thinking a modern reboot of the classic I Love Lucy franchise—Martin could play Desi Arnez and perhaps, this time around, Lucy could be Luke, Martin’s gay life partner, instead.

¡Viva la Ricky Martin!

Photos via The Advocate

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  • Jesse

    Ricky seems like a nice man but never thought he was that talented. Always found him rather awkward.

  • Abel

    I have no particular interest in Martin’s kind of music, but if he pulls off EVITA, I will be very gratified. I’ll be eager for the new cast album in any case.

  • Fitz

    I don’t hate him, but I feel zero connection to him. His open-mouth smile is so phoney, and for-the-camera…. it’s hard to know who he is.

  • spider_orchid

    He’s out and he’s cute and to my knowledge he hasn’t said or done anything douchey in a long time (since that time he admitted he likes to get pissed on). I say “Why not?” He’s better than NPH, who’s been on my “doing too much” list for a while now…

  • Jesse

    @spider_orchid: NPH will do anything for publicity…

  • Callum

    I don’t know him, but from the publicity around him I suspect he is a good guy who happens to also be gay. There is also no mention of him being a prim a-Donna, which I find refreshing. As for a television gig, well rather than seeing him in a sit-com like a resurrected I Love Lucy, I would much rather see him in a regular role in something like NCIS or CSI or perhaps resurrected versions of The Saint or The Thin Man.

  • christopher_di_crapito

    Do any of you have memories? Does anyone remember that no actor, singer, or entertainer will come out at the height of their careers? Sure there have been a few exceptions, but only a precious few. They have 2 options : 1-come out bravely when they are most popular and risk everything, or, 2-stay closeted until the bulk of their careers and money-making days are behind them, or at least until the producer/studio feels like they have squeezed everything they can out of them. Most choose option number 2. There is nothing brave or commendable about that! It only proves that fame and money come first, way before being true to oneself.

  • Matt

    “Yes, perhaps he deprived LGBT youth of a gay superstar to idolize”

    No, because openly gay Ricky Martin would never get a chance to be a star.

  • Matt

    “There is nothing brave or commendable about that! It only proves that fame and money come first, way before being true to oneself.”

    Bitch please.

    You are blaming gays for homophobia and for wanting to have the same chance for good career as straights.

  • KR

    @christopher_di_crapito: Uh, current events. Matt Bomer has one of the hottest rising careers right now and just came out officially, although was never really in. Brave with integrity…

  • scrumfan

    Your use of “foreigner” is interesting to describe Ricky Martin. Last I checked, Puerto Ricans are US Citizens with full rights of entry and movement anywhere within the US.

  • Oscar Raymundo

    Also he is hotter now than he was 12 years ago…

  • Cam

    The guy is out now, my problems with him are pretty much over and I’ll tune in if he’s on a show or puts out something.

    If he was still in the closeted, THEN he could go fuck himself, but happy to support him now. He didn’t come out in a nasty/angry/blame the gays way like Sean P Hayes did. Now THAT guy can still go fuck himself.

  • jason

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gay men don’t support openly out music performers. Gay men in general have a sick fascination for speculating on a man’s sexuality. It’s how gay men get their kicks. Once a male music performer comes out, there’s nothing to speculate about.

    Gay men are basically dysfunctional creatures who simply drop gay men once they come out.

  • Halfback

    As someone that grew up in Puerto Rico at the same time Ricky Martin did I totally understand the way he handled his coming out. It is so easy to critize how some people aren’t “true to themselves” because they didn’t come out when in kindergarden disregarding their circumstances. Ricky Martin has been one of the very few latino artists to come out of the closet and support gay causes…he has been extremely vocal defending LGTB rights in Puerto Rico, and believe me, he has made a lot of enemies because of that. Time are changing very fast but not everywhere and for everyone at the same time…

  • christopher_di_crapito

    @KR: That’s just one example. One. And I did say that there were some examples of this, but very few. Give me 20, 30, 50, 100 examples, and then I’ll be impressed.

  • kyle

    He’s openly gay. I’ll support him.

  • christopher_di_crapito

    @Matt: Oooookay. Your reply shows that what I wrote completely flew over your head. If you’re as dumb as these words you wrote, you’re in serious trouble! This is showbiz, people. Had he come out while at the height of his fame, now that would have been brave. Any idiot can understand that.

    I’m blaming gays for homophobia? What? Did you actually read what I wrote? Obviously not. There’s nothing brave about coming out when it’s safe. I only wish these performers would have the guts to come out at the height of their popularity. Now that would make an impact. If it would be done over and over, one after the other, it would definitely help to change the public’s perception that out gay men can’t be successful in showbiz. But it’s got to start somewhere. Some have already done this. More need to do it. Much more. Change rarely if ever takes place without risks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a performer could come out without any damage at all to his career? And how do you think that’s going to happen? By coming out when it’s safe, after years, decades of speculation on the public’s part?

    You were obviously not even born back in the day when coming out meant instant ruin in all areas of your life. I came out in such a time. And let me tell you that I was a heck of a lot more proud of myself for doing that. Do it when it could have the biggest impact. And remember that there is always someone out there that has it worse than you. Others had it worse than me back in the day and they pulled through as well.

    So, no, I have no admiration for a washed up singer who is desperatly trying to stay relevant and who came out years after relevancy whewn the coast was clear!

  • Huh ...

    @christopher_di_crapito: “… a washed up singer.”

    Mnn, not quite. Americans forget that long before he started singing in English, Ricky Martin was a HUGE star in Latin America. He was a much bigger star here than he was ever was in the US, and considering his vast Latin American fan base, coming out wasn’t as risk-free as you seem to suggest. It was risky, and it cost him fans. But he’s still huge, as proven by the fact that in 2011 he had one of the biggest albums in Latin America and one of the highest-grossing tours in the world. So even though he now wants to focus on reviving his English-language career, he’s hardly “washed-up.”

    Next time, try not to be so provincial.

  • christopher_di_crapito

    @Huh …: I never suggested anything as being risk-free. On the contrary, I wrote about taking risks. The fact that he is not washed up in his native country is completely irrelevant because he is trying to get back on top here in America. He may be big in Puerto Rico but will he be big again here? Time will tell. Now he will use the coming out angle to revive things. We’ll see how it goes.

  • kuy

    If supporting him now means making him a success, and transforming him into another example that you can be openly gay and be sucessful media icon, then of course i will give him my support.

  • Rick


    “The fact that he is not washed up in his native country”

    Boy you really have no idea how big Ricky Martin really is outside of the US.

  • Chadboy

    I will not be giving my dollars to Martin. I don’t appreciate that he wasn’t out when he could have made a difference and I don’t find him all that talented. His acting is sub par and his music….well he isn’t Enrique Iglesias or Marc Anthony.

  • Ty

    My issue with Ricky’s music and why I won’t support him is because I always found his music tacky. He’s charming in that Vegas entertainer sort of way but “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Shake Your Bon Bon” were terrible, and yes like many gay men in 1999 I bought into the hype just because he was hot. My prob with Ricky in being out is that he uses it to his advantage now, but in 1999-2000, he played the “gay is wrong and shameful” card, exactly the same thing Mr. “How can you think I’m gay, I’m a God-fearing Baptist” Clay Aiken used to say in 2003-2004. Coming out is generally a last ditch attempt for celebrities who are past their day (yes, I know Ricky is huge in Latin America, but he again is aiming to conquer the English language market again like he did in 1999) in hopes that it’ll get their name out there again. I respect people like Matt Bomer, Russell Tovey (who was out at the start of his career and yet has still managed a very successful career in the UK and doesn’t find himself typecast as “the gay guy”) and Neil Patrick Harris (who admittedly had been famous for 20 years by the time he came out, but came out when starring on a hit tv series and being a media darling) who feel the need to comment on it when people are actually interested.

    Gay people in fact do support gay artists… have you never met a Pet Shop Boys or Scissor Sisters fan? we’re 90% of their audience. But gays aren’t just going to support someone on the basis of being gay.

  • alejo

    @christopher_di_crapito: Why the fuck is it compulsory for anyone to come out? It should be and is a personal choice. Never does a straight person says he’s straight then why do gays do that..?!? On one point you’re asking for equality and then there is this. It’s like yeah I consider you normal as others but then you have to prove yourself to others about your sexuality to be normal. what the fuck is that? and if you’re seriously so desperate to have getting a BRAVE idol for gays then why didn’t you urself did something wonderful and brave. Don’t judge him as if you know about him. He’s has got a personal life so, let him live it the way he wants just the way you want it for yourself. No one is perfect and he’s neither saying that nor trying to be anyone’s idol. whatever he’s doing is for his own mental and personal peace. And why do gays even need an idol, can’t we just live and make our own lives ourselves. or are you saying we are that gays are not enough and they need to have an idol to come out like whatever.
    P.S.: I’m gay.

  • Ty


    [i]Never does a straight person says he’s straight then why do gays do that..?![/i]

    In fairness, every straight actor does it when they flaunt their wife/girlfriend/whatever. Someone like Brad Pitt (and I know he’s an ally, just using an example) has never been shy to let us know who he is dating at the time. I think acknowledging your partner by bringing them to public events (as Jodie Foster, Jim Parsons and “before he officially came out” Matt Bomer do) is one thing without having to tweet or give a People magazine cover story.

  • Allnighter

    Everyone needs to stop hating! These gay boys are just trying to get money. Go on, get money!

  • alejo

    @ Ty The point I wanted to make was about respecting others decisions unless and until it something that harms you. If he didn’t flaunt then it was his decision which in no way concerns us. Secondly, he did have beards(or may we he was in love or whatever with those women or whatever) but still speculations about his sexuality continued. Can you guess why? This is because having and flaunting an opposite sex is not the prove of ones sexuality. So,just because a straight guy is with a straight woman it doesn’t put him in any better position than a gay guy and therefore being on equal footage (I’m a law student and so, know the concept of equality quite well) he should be made equally answerable to state his sexuality in public as is expected from the gays. Dude, don’t you think it really unnecessary for a celebrity to come out to the public at large when you have already made clear about your sexuality to the ppl whom you really respect in that regard. (yes so, on this point I might agree that Ricky didn’t care about gays that way but again everyone has their lives). And btw ppl who knew him knew that he was gay and even others came to know when he was probably flaunting his “HE” in public at a time when he hadn’t even come out officially. That’s how the rumors started. So, the ppl who were smart enough to know that knew it already but the ones who weren’t should stop blaming him for not coming out publicly because it’s none of their business. Don’t expect him to come to your house on dinner with his boyfriend. Either be smart or just stop sneaking into others life. One should believe in oneself and not expect others to speak on their behalf this goes same for one’s level of sexual acceptance.

  • TJ

    Pathetic. He’s a terrible ‘singer’. Now he has to pander to the gay community because his career, in this country, is long over. Go home, Ricky.

  • ~PR~

    God. Some of you make it seem like he should have come out long ago for everyone elses sake! What about his? He was in a position where being out would be particularly dangerous to his career, so he played the ambiguous card (note: he never said he wasn’t gay, he just never confirmed he was). The industry is still relatively homophobic. To say he isn’t brave for comming out back when he was at the height of his career is bullshit. I actually agree with Jason on this one… many gay men (at least judging from the backlash against people like Martin, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert) become catty punks once the mystery is gone. The bottom line is that these peoples’ job is to entertain us. Why must we be so privy into their private lives when they are not privy to ours (although, yes, I know a few wouldn’t mind the scrutiny from such men). The fact that he is trying to make a bigger splash in America once again indicates that the risk he took was very real and he was very brave… when he came out, he more than likely was not anticipating his career being over. In my book, he’s brave. But at the end of the day, what impact does his comming out have on my life? None, although it does make me happy to have him in our family. He’s become much more vocal about gay rights. He’s fighting for same sex marriage in Puerto Rico, a difficult task that should not be marginalized. And on top of that, he is not a foreigner! He is a US citizen.

  • Christopher

    @TJ: He is from puerto Rico, which makes him a United States citizen, he is home.

  • alejo

    oops..I didn’t see there was a reply button that’s why I kept wondering why when I wrote @ to someone’s name it didn’t become orange. How dumb. My bad. LOL And then so many typos. My keyboard sucks..eeeew..!!!

  • christopher di crapito

    @alejo: Yes, dumb describes you quite well.

  • Stuart

    @alejo: are you frustrated with your life?

  • Ty


    Regardless, I agree with TJ on this. Ricky wanted nothing to do with the gays when he was “hot” and acted like being gay was shameful and wrong to keep forth this “fiercely heterosexual” image… now he wants English speaking gays to embrace him with open arms? Maybe if he can come back with songs less tacky than “She Bangs” and “Shake Your Bon Bon” I’d consider it, but as a whole, Ricky is nothing more than a Latin Wayne Newton.

  • alejo

    @Stuart: LOL I thanked a loser and now it’s the time to thank a troll. So, thanks you.

  • John Boy

    His dancing to me always looked so awkward like Elaine on Seinfeld, not so sexy.

  • Jay P

    I think he’s adorable in all, but I just never “got behind him” because of his whole religious thing. It seems like he mentions god in like every other sentence in some interviews.

    But nothing against him, just not my cup of tea. Of course, I’d totally make out with him. duh.

  • Joseph

    Some of you are so judgemental and full of hate, is actually sad.
    Ricky Martin is SUPER TALENTED, ONE OF THE BEST DANCERS, CHARISMATIC, HE IS A TRUE TALENT. If you guys want to talk about his songs at least do your homework and listen some of his beautiful spanish albums like “VUELVE” that cd is a masterpiece and GRAMMY WINNER. “ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS IN HISTORY OF LATIN MUSIC”.

    Some of you aislate yourself in the little gay community that you live that forget what happens in the real world, why if is so easy to come out why : JOHN TRAVOLTA, ANDERSON COOPER, QUEEN LATIFAH, KEVIN SPACEY, TOM CRUISE AND OPRAH WINFREY has not come out?????
    because it actually affects your career a lot.Still a lot of homophobia out there.


    He went through a spiritual journey and was able to accept himself, that is being brave and come out in such nice decent way, HE IA A CLASS ACT, HE IS CHANGING THE IMAGE OF GAY PEOPLE IN LATIN AMERICA.

    He still on the covers of the most important magazines in mostly of the world and women still going crazy for him. I saw him at the American Airlines Arena in Miami last year and was sold out, HE CAN SING, HE CAN DANCE, HE CAN ACT, HE HAS ONE THE MOST AMAZING SHOWS, AND HE IS A KIND GOOD MAN.

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