Ricky Martin Opens Up About His Decision to Come Out: 'It Was Extremely Painful for Me'

Ricky Martin has revealed that his decision to come out as gay in 2010 was “extremely painful,” but the international pop star, actor, and sex symbol felt that failing to do so would be lying to his kids.

“I was surrounded by a lot of friends that were telling me ‘Don’t! Don’t come out, it will be the end of your career!'” Martin said during an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Tuesday night. “People that love me, people that mean well, people that were just victims of homophobia.”

The 46-year-old went on to explain that he grew up in a culture that told him his feelings were evil. “If you add to that the fact that I was like a heart-throb, like a sex symbol — Everybody was telling me, ‘It’s going to be the end of your career.’ It was extremely painful for me until I said, ‘I can’t take it anymore. It’s all about me now, it’s not about what’s happening outside. It’s about what I need in order to be happy.'”

But the game-changing factor for Martin was becoming a father to twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, 9. “I had my kids, and I said ‘I have to come out. I’m not going to lie to these beautiful kids.'”

In the eight years since he came out, Martin says he uses his acting to speak out on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

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Last year he took on the role of Antonio D’Amico — the love of late fashion designer, Gianni Versace — in FX’s true crime anthology series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

The program doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of homophobia, prevalent throughout the late fashion icon’s life. “There’s a lot of injustice in the Gianni Versace story,” he says. A major factor in his decision to sign on to the series is to ensure that these injustices don’t continue.

“One of the reasons that I jumped into this character with the level of passion that I jumped into [it with] was because in 1997, something happened. Someone was killed … a criminal that went on a killing spree. He was on the list of the most wanted men of the FBI, he was living in Miami Beach, not hiding, and no one caught him,” Martin told E! News.

“For me that is frustrating. For me that is injustice,” he continued. “For me, the most important thing was to be able to be a spokesperson for, maybe the LGBT community, and say open your eyes. We’re still being attacked and a lot has to be done.”

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST until March 21 on FX.

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