Ricky Martin has been out and proud since 2010, but he says his memories of being asked to discuss his sexuality on national TV still sting.
In People magazine’s cover story this week, Ricky says before he came out, he wasn’t sure if he was gay or bisexual, because he dated both men and women — “lots of women,” he notes. All the while, there were rumors about his sexuality, but he was forced to confront them against his will in 2000, when he was 29.
That’s when Barbara Walters said, during a TV interview, “You could stop these rumors. You could say, ‘Yes I am gay or no I’m not.'” A stunned Ricky responded, “I just don’t feel like it.”
“When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid,” Ricky recalls to People. “There’s a little PTSD with that.”
“A lot of people say, what would you do differently? Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview,” he says. “It would’ve been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing…because if you hide it, it’s a life-or-death situation.”
Ricky, now 49 and married with four kids, has a new single out on June 10, followed by an album. But after receiving an Emmy nomination for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, he’s disappointed that he hasn’t received more acting offers.
“I can play gay, I can play straight, I can play a serial killer. I can play Latin, but I can also play European,” he tells People. “I am ready. Just give it to me, man.”
“I don’t know if I’m not getting parts because I’m gay,” he adds. “But if that’s the case, it’s really sad.”
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