Ricky Martin on Finding Success While Living in the Closet: 'I Wasn't Living to the Fullest'

Ricky Martin
Jwan Yosef

Ricky Martin

At the height of his success, Ricky Martin proclaimed to the world that he was "Livin' La Vida Loca." But in a new interview, Martin is revealing that life at that time was actually much more painful than his popular song let on.

On the latest episode of Apple Music's Proud Radio, Martin explained to host Hattie Collins what life was really like living in the closet in the late '90s. "The world was giving me back the hours that I had put into music, the hours that I had put into this career," he said. "I was the king of the world. My music was being heard all over the world, regardless of the language. I could high five God, but I wasn't living to the fullest. I was sad. I was depressed."

The 48-year-old singer explained that he would perform as a means of survival, as a way to "snap out of this heavy sadness" he felt from being trapped in the closet. At one point, during a subsequent world tour, Martin says he couldn't even bring himself to perform. "I was in Australia and from Australia, we were going to go to South America," he recalls. "And I said, I can't. I can't do this. I need to go home. I need silence. I need to cry. I need to be angry. I need to forgive myself for allowing myself to reach this level, to get to where I'm at."

After taking time off to learn about himself and his sexuality, Martin still wasn't ready to publicly come out — his friends and family knew, but his fans still didn't. It wasn't until he began working on his memoir that he finally summoned the courage to publicly come out to this fans. "I wrote it and I pressed send, and then I cried like crazy. And I've been super happy ever since," he says.

But the star explains that it's not only important to have more out, LGBTQ stars for people to look up to — Martin also said it's important for straight stars to be supportive, vocal allies for the community. To offer an example, he said to look no further than Bad Bunny.

"Bad Bunny is doing an outstanding job," Martin said. "We will forever be grateful, because we need them. They are an important part of our history, allies are, and I appreciate it. That's why I needed to work with him."

Check out the clips from Ricky Martin's interview below, and listen to his full interview on Proud Radio here.