About (Late) Last Night: Ricky Martin talks to Jay Leno about coming out [Video]
When Ricky Martin revealed that he was gay last year, the response from much of the public was a shrug, or, as Martin described it on Tuesday's "Tonight Show," "A lot of people said 'Yeah, what's new?' "
But just because some people had already figured out Martin's sexual orientation doesn't mean that he didn't anguish over it, especially in the heady days of the late '90s, when the success of "La Vida Loca" had turned him into a global superstar and reluctant heartthrob.
"What Ricky Martin represented back then and what I was feeling were not compatible," he explained to Jay Leno. "I was the sex symbol and I need to dance and make girls crazy. I couldn't say that I was gay."
Martin's religious and cultural background, he says, made it even more difficult to accept his sexuality. "What I was feeling, according to what I had in my mind, was evil."
Twelve years later, Martin, now a father to twin toddlers, is now at peace with himself. "I'm very lucky today to say that I'm gay and I love it and I'm so happy."
He also offered words of encouragement and sympathy for people grappling with their sexual identity. "It was about my own fears, and I know there's a lot of people out there, men and women, who are struggling with that," he said. "Everyone has to go through their own spiritual journey."
Ricky, it's nice to have you back.
-- Meredith Blake