Ricky Martin

Ricky+Martin+with+his+husband+Jwan+Yosef+and+their+twin+sons+Matteo+and+Valentino.

Ricky Martin with his husband Jwan Yosef and their twin sons Matteo and Valentino.

Paloma Ocampo, Senior Editor

Ricky Martin is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, author and humanitarian who is known as the “King of Latin Pop”.  He began his career at age 12 with the all-boy pop group Menudo.  Since the beginning of his solo career in 1991, Ricky Martin has become one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time with over 70 million records worldwide.  On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly came out as gay in a post on his official website, stating: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Martin auditioned for membership in the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. Although the executives enjoyed his dancing and singing at his first two auditions, Martin was rejected because he was too short.  By the third audition, his persistence impressed executives, and in 1984, 12-year-old Martin became a member.  Although Martin enjoyed traveling and performing onstage with Menudo, he found the band’s busy schedule and strict management exhausting, and later reflected that the experience “cost” him his childhood.  Martin left Menudo in July 1989, at age 17.

Martin released his debut solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in November 1991.  Martin prepared his first English album in 1999 in an attempt to cross over to the United States market. he first and most prominent single was “Livin’ la Vida Loca”, which reached number one in many countries around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” is Ricky Martin’s biggest hit.

Martin is the founder of Fundación Ricky Martin (Ricky Martin Foundation), a non-profit organization. Among the events promoted by the foundation was a summer camp, which included Martin’s personal participation.  In December 2003, Martin was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In his role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Ricky Martin has supported UNICEF’s efforts in fighting for children’s rights, especially in the area of child trafficking.

Martin’s coming out, was a game-changer for Latin Pride, as he was the first mainstream Latin music artist to come out. Gay artists, who had kept their sexual orientation a secret for a long time, finally had a hope. If Ricky Martin could come out with his career unscathed, so there was hope for other Latin music stars to be the same. Since that, a growing number of Latin stars have also come out after years in the spotlight, or many have simply started their careers without hiding their sexual identities.