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Ricky Martin condemns Barbara Walters for ‘violating’ him by probing his sexuality in 2000 interview

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The Independent
The Independent
 2021-06-03

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Ricky Martin has condemned US journalist Barbara Walters for asking him about his sexuality in a TV interview in 2000.

Martin came out publicly as gay in 2010, but experienced repeated questions about his sexuality in the years before. One such incident occurred in 2000, when Walters surprised Martin during an interview by inviting him to “stop [the] rumours”.

Walters told him: “You could say, ‘Yes, I am gay, or no, I’m not.’”

A visibly stunned Martin replied: “I just don’t feel like it.”

In a new interview, Martin said he “felt violated” by the question. “I was just not ready to come out,” he told People Magazine . “I was very afraid. There’s a little PTSD with that.”

“A lot of people say, ‘What would you do differently?’” Martin continued. “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.”

He added, though, that “you can’t force someone to come out”.

Walters, who has largely retreated from public life since her retirement in 2015, said in 2010 that she regretted the conversation.

“When I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question,” Walters admitted.

The Independent has reached out to Walters’s representative for comment.

Martin, best known for international hits including “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs”, married artist Jwan Yosef in 2017. The couple have four children.

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