Ricky Martin felt ‘violated’ by Barbara Walters’ questions on his sexuality: ‘I was just not ready to come out’
Ricky Martin has described how “violated” he felt being grilled by Barbara Walters over his sexuality, a decade before he was ready to come out.
In 2000, Martin appeared on The View, and in a tense interview Walters questioned him about his sexuality.
Ricky Martin, who came out in 2010 and now has four children with husband Jwan Yosef, reflected on the interview this week.
He told People: “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,” he added.
In the 2000 interview, Walters him if he was aware of the “rumours that talk about your sexual orientation”, and Ricky Martin said he was.
She pressed him: “Do they hurt? How do you handle them?”
Diplomatically dodging the question, Martin replied: “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.”
But Walters refused to let it slide, asking again: “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.”
After a few moments of uncomfortable silence from Ricky Martin, she continued: “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.”
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“I understand perfectly,” he said. “Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to express the rumours but for some reason, I just don’t feel like it.”
Walters eventually admitted in 2017 that it was a “mistake” to try and shove Martin out of the closet, but in his People interview, he said if he could go back he might take the opportunity to come out.
He said: “A lot of people say, what would you do differently?
“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.”
But, Ricky Martin added: “You can’t force someone to come out. But if you have an egg and you open it from the outside, only death comes out. But if the egg opens up from the inside, life comes out.”