21 Facts You Might Not Know About Ricky Martin
who didn’t grow up drooling over Ricky Martin? He started out as just a kid in San Juan and was world famous by age 12 thanks to his time with Menudo before making his on path in the music industry. He put Latin Pop on the map in iconic shows, and brought Latin music into the Spanglish American mainstream with hits like “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “The Cup of Life.” Here’s a quick glimpse into the life and rise of Ricky Martin, the one man who still has our attention after all these years.
Ricky Martin was born on Christmas Eve.
He’s coming up on his 47th birthday and has been in the business for 35 of those years. His full name is Enrique Martín Morales. He went by Ricky as a kid.
His mother was an accountant and his father a psychologist.
For ten years he had no relationship with his father until the pain finally overwhelmed him. “I was suffering,” he told People en Español. “If you think your parents are wrong, practice compassion and make peace.” He is the second youngest of six children.
His father discovered a newspaper ad for commercial auditions.
By the time Ricky was 10 years old, he had starred in eleven commercials and was un poquito famous on the island. This gave him the perfect jumping off point for his career-making audition.
Then, he auditioned for iconic boy band Menudo.
They rejected him after the second audition because he was too short. By the time he got into the third audition, his persistence won the executives over.
Looking back on Menudo, he says they were all spoiled.
He told Billboard, “I didn’t go around the world, I went around the world on a private jet. I didn’t have a hotel room, we had an entire floor. We were spoiled.”
Ricky Martin was so eager to sign his first solo album, he didn’t read the contract and was robbed.
The deal meant that he would only be given a penny for each album sold. I don’t know why Sony Discos thought they could challenge Puerto Rican rage, but Martin has a more zen view about it now. The record was the start of something for him.
He moved to New York City three days after turning 18 to celebrate his independence.
Even after leaving Menudo when he was 17 years old, he couldn’t touch any of the money he’d earned because he wasn’t an adult. He enrolled in the Tisch School of the Arts in NYC and dropped out months before even starting. He was going to Mexican Broadway.
Eventually, Martin acted long enough to be cast in General Hospital as a Puerto Rican singer.
This was his for real headshot for the role. He felt out of place on set because he was the only person with a Latino accent. He began a relationship with a man, came out to his mom, who supported him, and then locked it all up again after the relationship ended.
In his autobiography, he writes, “I already felt it was hard to be a Latino in Hollywood; what could have been more difficult than being Latino and gay?” 💔
This is the stage that critics everywhere say was the catalyst for Latin Pop:
It was 1999, and his album Vuelve was nominated for Best Latin Pop Album. He performed “The Cup of Life” and the crowd went nuts, giving him a standing ovation. During an era when Marc Anthony was King, J.Lo was only known as an actress and Shakira hadn’t released her first album English yet, Ricky Martin was it.
That same night, he won the Grammy.
He’s known as the guy who led the charge for Spanish Language artists to transition into the English-speaking market. Immediately after winning the Grammy, he released “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” That did okay.
Ricky Martin grew up very, very Catholic.
He was even an altar boy as a child. Today, he says he’s open to all religious beliefs. He told the Buddhist Channel, “I really like the Buddhist philosophy but that doesn’t mean that I am of the religion. If I subscribe to Buddhism, I can’t be of anything else…I am not going to follow those rules.”
We all remember our super Catholic moms who’d hit us if we questioned anything the priest said nodding their heads, “Respeto” when this news came out.
He made an appearance on Glee as “The Spanish Teacher.”
Clearly, he was the best thing to happen to that show, second to Naya Rivera’s holy appearances. Martin teased fans on Twitter back in 2011 saying, “I hear McKinley high has an opening for a Spanish teacher… Maybe I’ll apply. ;o)”
On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly came out as gay.
He came out in a post on his official website, saying:
“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.” 🌈
Which makes covers like these hilarious:
Barbara Walters has regretted pressuring Martin in 2000 to respond to questions around his sexuality. He told The Mirror, “I don’t think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I’ve slept with or not.”
Shortly after he came out, he released his autobiography, Me.
It debuted at No. 5 on The New York Times Best Seller list. He opens up about what it was like navigating his sexuality and competing emotions while becoming a national sex symbol all a lo mismo tiempo.
Two years earlier, Ricky had twin sons via a gestational surrogate mother.
Martin told Out magazine that he wants his kids in the spotlight because, “I want people to look at me and see a family and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’ It’s part of my mission. It’s part of my kids’ mission as well. My kids ask me about having two daddies and I tell them we are a part of a modern family. This is a beautiful sense of freedom.”
These days, Martin and his hubbie Jwan Yosef spend a lot of time on la isla.
Yosef is a painter. Martin apparently fell in love with his work and then fell in love with him. The two plan to start an even bigger family together.
Their kids came up with the concept for Martin’s now-famous #Allin4PR camiseta fundraiser.
Caption: “A few weeks ago, my kids came to me and asked ‘Dad, what can WE do to help Puerto Rico?” So they each drew & colored the Puerto Rican flag, we put the flags on t-shirts, and a beautiful idea was born. Once we got the first shirt, my husband photographed me in it and our family was #Allin4PR.”
Celebrities everywhere have joined the movement to help rebuild Puerto Rico with the Martin family.
Celebrities like Bad Bunny, Marc Anthony, Will Smith, Jaime Camil, and Gina Rodriguez are just a few that supported it. The campaign is no longer active, but if you follow @Ricky_Martin, you can see all the active work he’s doing to physically rebuild homes in Puerto Rico.
Martin raised enough funds to reconstruct 225 homes.
The whole Martin family is glorying in the Puerto Rican sun and the glow of helping Puerto Rican families. He posted on Instagram saying, “This was stronger than me. I couldn’t wait another day. It’s one year later, and we’re STILL #AllIn4PR. The death toll was high after Hurricane Maria, but the spirit of the people of Puerto Rico is UNBREAKABLE. We are resilient. ”
We leave you with this philanthropic, angelic padre, beach bod.
Ricky Martin raised us all, and he’s essentially adopted the whole island under his paternal wing. This island just breeds buena gente, you know what I mean?