Ricky Martin’s memoir, Me, was a speedy read wherein the singer shares his life story openly and honestly. In fact, Martin is so thoroughly honest that the depth of candour is often hard to take in. I have never read any celebrity memoir told with such naked openness. Since Martin came out of the closet earlier this year, he has experienced a personal rebirth, and is living his life fearlessly, not afraid of any consequences. The invisible closet he built around himself has crumbled, and Martin is ecstatic about life. You can feel the broad smile he radiates as he wrote these lines, and Ricky Martin with a big smile is not an unpleasant sight to contemplate.
Spiritual trips to India, living in an ashram and studying kriya yoga have awakened an inner peace that has given Martin a new sense of invincibility. The spiritual talk can get overwhelmingly repetitive at times, and it got tedious to read about karma, karmic forces, a new “transparency” and how Martin’s new life is “bathed in light” at seemingly every other page. There were often times when I felt that the Dewey classification for this memoir shouldn’t be in the 782’s (vocal music) but in the 158.1’s (personal improvement and analysis). Martin’s spiritual rebirth seemed clichéed, but if he’s the better person for it, more power to him.
Martin is open about his same-sex relationships, and reveals that he had been homosexually active ever since puberty. He had also been sexually active with women and even had steady heterosexual relationships which were genuine, and not set up by managers or agents in order to protect his “Latin lover” image. Martin admits he had strong feelings for women:
“But my physical instinct, my animal instinct, and my inner desires ultimately drive me toward men. At the end of the day, I follow my instinct and my nature, period.”
Two years ago Martin became a father of twins with a surrogate mother and anonymous donor ova. He decided to come out of the closet to set an example to his children, Matteo and Valentino, that one should live one’s life openly and honestly. He did not want his closetedness to instil in his children the need to lie for him later in life. In March of this year, Martin came out publicly in a letter on his personal web site. That letter is reproduced in full in Me. When he finished composing the letter and hit the “send” key, he knew that his life had changed. He was not overly concerned with any negative repercussions for coming out, for he felt that he was mentally and spiritually ready to deal with any reactions. However, the response he received was unlike anything he had ever imagined. The messages of support and love were overwhelmingly supportive:
“So all that fear I had, the fear that many people have when they come out, was only in my mind…I will say that my own experience was only positive and empowering.”
Martin acknowledges that his homosexuality was an open secret and that after he came out some people came up to him and asked “What took you so long?”. To that question, Martin replied that his life was not at a stage where he was ready. Martin would not be ready to come out of the closet until age 38. Any time before that and he was in a state of denial, or not ready spiritually. Fatherhood changed him completely, and has enabled him to look at his twin boys with a clear conscience as a father who is honest to them, and as one who is most importantly honest with himself.