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Ricky Martin recalls feeling “violated” when Barbara Walters asked if he was gay

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Ricky Martin is now happily raising four children with his husband, Jwan Yosef. But back in 2000, when he was 29, the singer had not yet come out as gay publicly and was living with a lot of anxiety.

In a new cover story for People‘s second annual Pride Issue, the Latin superstar recalls the moment of panic he felt when Barbara Walters asked if he was gay on national television. At the time, he opted not to answer.

“When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid,” Ricky admits to People. “There’s a little PTSD with that.”

He adds, “A lot of people say, what would you do differently? Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview. It would’ve been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing.”

Ricky ended up coming out in 2010, and he says he hopes he can be a source of inspiration for young people out there.

“When it comes to my sexuality, when it comes to who I am, I want to talk about what I’m made of, about everything that I am,” he says. “Because if you hide it, it’s a life-or-death situation.”

Ricky’s new album, Play, is coming soon, with the first single dropping June 10. This fall, he’ll tour with Enrique Iglesias.

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