Ricky Martin is reflecting on his infamous 2000 interview with Barbara Walters, in which the two had an awkward exchange when Walters pressed him about his sexuality.
The 46-year-old The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storystar appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen on Monday, when he responded to a fan question about the interview. Martin, who came out in 2010, skirted the question with Walters at the time, but says he doesn’t blame the seasoned journalist.
“Have you seen that video? It’s horrible, to be honest,” Martin admitted to the audience. “I felt like she was knocking, like, punch after punch after punch — it was really uncomfortable, to be honest. But then again I look at it, and I’m like, why didn’t I just say yes back then? Like, ‘yes, I’m gay,’ who cares, you know what I’m saying?”
“She was just doing her job, everybody was asking that question and she needed to ask it,” he added. “I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no, and I just left it open for everyone to think whatever they wanted to think, and I insist, why didn’t I say yes? And I believe everyone should just say ‘yes, it’s OK.’ If you are, say yes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.”
In 2010, Walters also reflected on the interview, and called the moment one of her only regrets in her legendary career.
“In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” she told The Toronto Star. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”
Last month, Martin talked to Attitude magazine about keeping his sexuality a secret when his career as a Latin pop star was first kicking off, calling himself “a closeted gay man who was making my partners hide.”
“I submitted myself to my career completely,” he told the magazine. “I didn’t open doors to new relationships, and I’m not talking about romantic relationships, I’m talking about any relationship, because I didn’t want people to know me too much. I wouldn’t even sit down and have a cool relationship with amazing producers or great film directors because I was afraid that if they spent more than two hours sitting with me they would know my nature. I wasted so much energy trying to manipulate my sexuality.”
These days, Martin is married to conceptual artist Jwan Yosef. He is also the father of 9-year-old twin sons, Valentino and Matteo. ET spoke to the star last month about portraying the late Gianni Versace’s partner, Antonio D’Amico, in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and he admitted that the role affected him personally.
“When you read and you understand a little bit more of the injustice that surrounds this crime, as a member of the LGBT community, you just get angry and frustrated,” he shared. “The only way you can get rid of this anger is to be able to become, in my case, Antonio D’Amico, and try to look for justice.”
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