Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ricky Martin

Enrique "Ricky" Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971), better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican and Spanish pop singer and actor who achieved prominence, first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991. During his career he has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He is the founder of Ricky Martin Foundation (in Spanish Fundación Ricky Martin), a non-profit charity organization aimed at ending human trafficking.

Martin got his start at age twelve with the all-boy pop group Menudo; after five years with the group, he released his Spanish-language solo album, Ricky Martin, in 1991. He also acted on stage and on TV in Mexico, becoming a modest star there. In 1994 he starred on the American TV soap opera General Hospital, playing a Puerto Rican singer. In 1999, after several albums in Spanish, he released his first English-language album (also titled Ricky Martin), which included "Livin' la Vida Loca". The album sold 22 million copies and brought Martin international fame. His other studio albums include: Me Amarás (1993), A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000), Almas del Silencio (2003), Life (2005), and Música + Alma + Sexo (2011).

On the edge of the new millennium, Martin—almost by himself—gave Latino music an international face. An acclaimed performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards launched Martin into worldwide super-stardom. As Entertainment Weekly's Andrew Essex reported, "his leather-pants, electro-pelvis version of 'La Copa de la Vida' single-handedly goosed a very dull [Grammy] telecast, earning him a standing ovation." In 2010, Martin announced that he was a "fortunate homosexual man", ending years of fan speculation on the topic. His twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via a surrogate mother in 2008. Martin also co-owns a Miami restaurant, Casa Salsa, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Early Life
Martin was born on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Nereida Morales, an accountant, and Enrique Martín Negroni, a psychologist. His parents divorced when he was two; his father remarried. Martin has two maternal half-brothers, Fernando and Ángel Fernández, and two paternal half-brothers, Eric and Daniel Martín, and a paternal half-sister Vanessa Martín. Martin grew up in a Roman Catholic home and was an altar boy until he joined Menudo. Martin has Spanish ancestry through his grandmother who was born in Spain and some Corsican ancestry as his paternal fourth great-grandfathers were born in Rogliano, Cap Corse, Corsica, and Vilanova i la Geltrú, Catalonia (Spain).

Ricky Martin was a member of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo between 1984 and 1989.

After completing high school, Martin left San Juan and moved to New York City. Later, Martin moved to Mexico City where he attended the national school of space. He played lead role in a 1989 musical-theatre release named Mis Tennis Rojos (My Red Tennis Shoes) next to Angélica Vale and then followed another theater production Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock).

Personal Life
In the past Martin stated he was in love with Mexican TV host Rebecca de Alba, with whom he had an on-again off-again relationship for over 14 years. They even talked of starting a family together, and at one point Martin planned on proposing. However with the release of Life in 2005, Martin confirmed he and De Alba had parted ways.

In August 2008, Martin became the father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino. The babies were birthed by a surrogate mother.

After the success of "Livin' la Vida Loca", Martin's personal life became a subject of interest due to his large gay following, and he was questioned about his sexual orientation. In a December 2000 interview with The Mirror, Martin was asked to comment on the rumors surrounding his sexuality. He replied that "I don't think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I've slept with or not." On March 29, 2010, Martin publicly acknowledged his homosexuality in a post on his official website stating, "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." Martin said that "these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed." In 2010, prior to Martin coming out, Barbara Walters expressed some regret for pushing Martin in a 2000 interview to admit if he was gay. The Toronto Star quoted her as saying, "When I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question."

Martin announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show that he was in a relationship. In 2011, during his acceptance speech of the Vito Russo Award at the 22nd GLAAD Media Awards, Martin publicly thanked his boyfriend, Carlos González Abella, an economist. Martin has also expressed support for same-sex marriage in an interview on Larry King Live, and commented on his experience of being closeted and coming out. "Everything about saying that I am gay feels right...", Martin stated, adding "if I’d known how good it was going to feel, I would have done it ten years ago."

Martin was raised Catholic, but says he is open to all sorts of religious beliefs, especially the Buddhist philosophy, although he does not identify as a Buddhist.

On November 2011, he acquired Spanish nationality in recognition of his artistic talents and for having roots in the country-Martin's grandmother is Spanish, and he owns a residence in Madrid. As a Spanish citizen he can now marry his boyfriend in Spain. He said he could marry in some states of the United States, but he wanted to marry in Spain to recognize the efforts of Zapatero in defense of LGBT rights. On September 9, 2011 he sold his home in Miami for $6.3 million that he had bought in 2007 for $16.5 million.

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