Ricky Martin was born on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as Enrique Jose Martin Morales IV. Around the age of six, he began appearing in ads on local television. He tried out for the teen singing group Menudo three times before getting a spot in 1984.
Martin toured the world with Menudo for five years, singing in multiple languages. In 1989, he reached the group’s 18-year-old age limit and returned to Puerto Rico just long enough to finish high school before travelling to New York to pursue a solo acting and singing career.
Martin was aggressively pursuing his acting career while also producing and releasing records and performing in concerts. He was well-known in his own Puerto Rico and throughout the Latin/Hispanic society.
Ricky Martin’s first solo album, was released by Sony Latin in 1988, and Me Amaras, his second album, was released in 1989. His third album, A Medio Vivir, was published in 1997, the same year he voiced Hercules in Disney’s animated picture in Spanish. Vuelve, his third album, was released in 1998 and featured the breakthrough track “La Copa de la Vida” (“The Cup of Life”), which Martin performed as part of a showcase shown to 2 billion people around the world during the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament in France.
Martin, who was already a global pop sensation at the time, gave a rousing performance of “La Copa de la Vida” at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium in February 1999, just before winning an Oscar for Best Latin Pop Performance.
‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ becomes a pop sensation
Following his Grammy achievement, he released his incredibly popular debut English hit, “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Ricky Martin’s album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard list. Martin was also featured on the cover of Time magazine, where he was recognized for bringing a growing Latin cultural influence into mainstream American pop music.
Other music and performances
Martin was nominated for four Grammy Awards in February 2000, adding to the popularity of his breakthrough English album and hit. Despite losing in all four categories — to veteran male pop artist Sting (Best Pop Album, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance) and Santana, the band led by resurgent guitarist Carlos Santana (Song of the Year, Record of the Year) — Martin presented another fiery live performance a year after his resounding Grammy debut.
Martin released Sound Loaded, his much-anticipated follow-up album to Ricky Martin, in November 2000. Martin received yet another Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the popular tune “She Bangs.”
Martin continued to make music after Sound Loaded, both in Spanish and English. ‘La Historia’ (2001) collected his finest Spanish-language hits. ‘Almas del Silencio,’ released two years later, featured new songs sung in Spanish. His first English-language album since 2000 was ‘Life’ (2005). The album performed successfully, hitting the top ten on Billboard’s album rankings. Martin, on the other hand, has yet to attain the same level of pop success as he did with his prior albums.
Martin’s appearance in a stage musical in Mexico led to a position as a vocalist on the 1992 Spanish-language telenovela ‘Alcanzar una Estrella,’ or ‘To Reach a Star.’ The show was so popular that he was asked to repeat his role in a film adaptation of the serial. Martin relocated to Los Angeles in 1993, when he made his American television debut in the sitcom Getting By. He appeared on the daytime soap opera General Hospital in 1995 and in the Broadway version of Les Miserables in 1996.
Martin featured in the January 2018 debut of FX’s ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.’ Martin portrayed Versace’s longtime companion Antonio D’Amico, who was present on the day Versace was assassinated.
Martin became a parent in 2008, when his twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via surrogacy. Martin, who had previously been elusive about his personal life, came out in 2010 on his website. He stated, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.” Martin revealed that his sons influenced his decision to go public with his sexuality.
Martin confirmed his engagement to Jwan Yosef, an artist born in Syria and brought up in Sweden, during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk programme in November 2016. Martin announced in January 2018 that the two had secretly married, with a large reception to follow in the coming months.
Martin’s family expanded with the arrival of Lucia in late 2018. Renn, the second son, was born in October 2019.
He started the Ricky Martin Foundation as a children advocacy group in 2000, as an activist for various causes. The organisation oversees the People for Children programme, which combats child exploitation. Martin testified before the United States House International Relations Committee in 2006 in support of a United Nations effort to improve the rights of children globally.
Incest and domestic violence allegations
In 2022, allegations of domestic violence and relationship with his nephew were brought up against him, both of which the singer denied.