Ricky Martin Worries Being Out Cost Him Acting Work

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 8, 2021

In an interview with People magazine, Latin pop star turned actor Ricky Martin, 49, said a record company executive once told him his music sales would be stronger if he'd stayed in the closet. Elsewhere in the piece, Martin reflects on whether being an out gay man cost him acting gigs.

"He's known to the world as the King of Latin Pop, the wildly talented singer who danced his way into America's heart in 1999 with 'Livin' La Vida Loca,'" People writes of the international superstar. "Lately Martin, now 49, has been thinking a lot about his other career, as an actor."

After getting a recurring role on "General Hospital" early in his acting days, Martin went on to star in "Les Misérables" and "Evita" on Broadway and make appearances on TV shows like "Glee" in 2012. He would make his Emmy-nominated turn in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" in 2018. Now, Martin says he is eager to get in front of the cameras once again.

"I'm waiting for those scripts, for those great scripts," Martin said. "I can play gay, I can play straight, I can play a serial killer. I can play Latin, but I can also play European. I am ready. Just give it to me, man. Give it to me."

But the great scripts have not been coming his way, and Martin gave voice to the fear that his being gay might have something to do with it the lack of acting opportunities.

"But if that's the case, it's really sad," Martin said.

The pop star told People about the conversation in which a record company executive told him "that he'd be selling more records if he'd never come out."

"And I was like, 'Am I really dealing with this? They're not playing my music in this country because I'm gay? Is this really happening?'" said Martin.

"We're talking about four years ago," Martin went on to say. "This executive doesn't work for the record company anymore. He was fired. But I felt it. It hit me hard."

Martin, who covers People's Pride Issue (hitting newsstands on June 14), made these comments in a longer featured interview piece that appears in the issue.

As Entertainment Weekly noted, the cover "arrives more than 10 years after Martin publicly came out as a gay man."

In the same issue, in 2000 by the famous broadcast journalist Barbara Walters, who pressed him about rumors concerning his sexuality at the time. (Martin did not come out until 10 years later.)

At the time of the interview, Martin recalled that he was "just not ready to come out" and admitted to People that he felt "violated" and had "a little PTSD" from that interview. However, in a moment of retrospection, Martin 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."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.