Ricky Martin has recalled feeling ‘violated’ when Barbara Walters asked about his sexuality in their interview 21 years ago.
The Livin’ La Vida Loca singer sat down with the veteran broadcaster in 2000 at the height of his music career.
Barbara, 91, repeatedly encouraged Ricky, 49, to set the record straight on the rumours about his sexuality but he felt uncomfortable at the time and now says he’s suffered with post traumatic stress disorder as a result.
Opening up about the interview with People, Ricky said: ‘When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid.
‘There’s a little PTSD with that.’
Ricky came out as gay 10 years later in a statement on his official website.
However, the Latin superstar now thinks it might have been better for him to come out in the interview with Barbara after all due to feeling relieved when he eventually revealed his true sexuality.
‘A lot of people say, what would you do differently?’ he said. ‘Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview. It would’ve been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing.
‘When it comes to my sexuality, when it comes to who I am, I want to talk about what I’m made of, about everything that I am. Because if you hide it, it’s a life-or-death situation.’
During the 2000 interview, Barbara asked the singer: ‘The rumours that talk about your sexual orientation, you must be aware of these?’ to which he replied: ‘Yes I am.’
She then wondered: ‘Do they hurt? How do you handle them?’
Ricky explained: ‘The word says it, “intimacy”. Sexuality and homosexuality should not be a problem for anybody. I think that sexuality is something that each individual should deal with in their own way, and that’s all I have to say about that.’
However, Barbara pressed further: ‘Well, you know you could stop these rumours. You could say, as many artists have, “yes I am gay” or you could say “no I’m not” or you could leave it, as you are, ambiguous. I don’t want to put you on the spot and it’s in your power to do it and I’m bringing it up with you Ricky because you know that this is being said and you’re even being named.’
Ricky said: ‘I understand perfectly. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to express the rumours but for some reason, I just don’t feel like it.’
Barbara addressed the interview on The View in 2017 and said: ‘Was that a mistake? Looking back now, it feels like one. So mistake number five; unless someone is openly gay, and happy to talk about it, it’s nobody’s business – including mine.’
In his latest interview, Ricky also opened up about his past relationships before coming out in 2010 and said he has been ‘in love with women’ because it ‘felt right’.
‘You can’t fake chemistry – the chemistry was there with them. I wasn’t misleading anyone,’ he said, adding that ‘sexuality is complicated’.
The singer has settled down and found love with artist Jwan Yosef who he married in 2017.
They are parents to twin sons Matteo and Valentino, 12, daughter Lucia, two, and son Renn, one, who was born in October 2019.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Barbara Walters’ rep for comment.
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