Ricky Martin, who came out in 2010 and is an openly gay celebrity today, internalized homophobia while growing up in Puerto Rico, and would often bully people whom he knew were gay.
Martin, a mentor on Australia’s “The Voice,” made this admission in the October issue of GQ Australia, and added that he was ashamed of people who were gay, because being homosexual conflicted with his Roman Catholic beliefs.
“I was very angry, very rebellious. I used to look at gay men and think, I’m not like that, I don’t want to be like that, that’s not me. I was ashamed,” Martin, 41, told GQ, according to Mirror. “When you’re told you’re wrong by everyone, from society, from your faith - my self-esteem was crushed.”
Martin added that this resulted in him taking out his anger on other people. “I look back now and realise I would bully people who I knew were gay,” he said. “I had internalised homophobia. To realise that was confronting to me. I wanted to get away from that.”
Since gaining worldwide recognition in late 1999 with "The Cup of Life" and later with “Livin' La Vida Loca,” Martin had constantly been questioned about his sexual preferences due to his large fan-following comprising gay men.
In 2000, when he was questioned by Barbara Walters, Martin dodged the question saying that his sexual preference was something that he would prefer to deal with in private.
But, in 2010, he ended years of speculation by coming out with a post on his website saying that he was fortunate to be homosexual. Martin, a father of twin boys -- Matteo and Valentino -- has since then made public that he is in a committed relationship with Carlos Gonzalez Abella, a financial adviser.
“I didn’t want them (his twin sons) growing up in a house of lies… or thinking that there was something wrong with being gay,” Martin told GQ.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.