Tragic Details About Ricky Martin

The following article references allegations of sexual abuse and domestic abuse.

Ricky Martin's decades-long career began in 1984 when he joined the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo at the age of 12. Per The Hollywood Reporter, by the age of 16 Martin had aged out of the boy band, but already had other offers lined up. The teen idol eventually became the breakout star of the group and went on to capture the attention of Wendy Riche, who was the executive producer of the soap opera "General Hospital." Of the moment she discovered Martin, Riche said in The Hollywood Reporter, "I saw a tape of Ricky performing, and I was blown away by his talent. When we met, what impressed me most was how present he was in every moment. He's always there with you."

After making a name for himself on "General Hospital," Martin developed an international fanbase. That fanbase would only balloon after he released the mega smash "Livin' la Vida Loca," the lead single from his first English language album. That album, which is his second self-titled, reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200. He's gone on to put out one hit after another, launched a nonprofit called The Ricky Martin Foundation, performed on Broadway, and earned and Emmy nomination for his work in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story."

However, fame and fortune do not make one immune to trauma or controversy. Read on for the tragic details of Ricky Martin.

The domestic abuse allegations against Ricky Martin

In July 2022, a restraining order was filed against Ricky Martin under Puerto Rico's Domestic Abuse Prevention and Intervention Act, per Us Weekly. According to early reports in Puerto Rico newspaper El Vocero, the anonymous individual was reportedly romantically involved with Martin for seven months. As fans know, Martin has been married to Jwan Yosef since 2017, so these allegations raise questions about the relationship. The singer's team has attempted to clear his name despite the filing of the restraining order. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, his reps denied the accusations. "We are very confident that when the true facts come out in this matter, our client Ricky Martin will be fully vindicated," they stated.

Martin took to social media to address the allegations, denying any wrongdoing. "The protection order entered against me is based on completely false allegations, so I will respond through the judicial process with the facts and the dignity that characterizes me," the actor shared via Twitter, noting that he legally could not add anything further. "I am grateful for the countless messages of solidarity, and I receive them with all my heart," he wrote.

Later that same month, however, the individual was identified as Martin's 21-year-old nephew. The singer's lawyer told Deadline, "Unfortunately, the person who made this claim is struggling with deep mental health challenges. Ricky Martin has, of course, never been — and would never be — involved in any kind of sexual or romantic relationship with his nephew." At the time of writing, Martin's accuser has made no public comments about the allegations.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

His ex-manager sued him for $3 million

Ricky Martin also found himself in legal trouble when ex-manager Rebecca Drucker filed a $3 million lawsuit against him in 2022. In court documents, Drucker alleged that Martin breached his contract. "With Rebecca at his side, Martin made millions of dollars and therefore owes Rebecca substantial commissions," read legal filings obtained by Deadline. The lawsuit also alleged that Drucker had to save Martin from facing serious repercussions after he faced allegations in 2020. The details of these allegations have yet to come to light, but Drucker's complaint maintains, "For years, she protected Martin from the consequences of his reckless indiscretions. Rebecca did so not only because she was his manager, but also because she thought that Martin was her dear friend."

As for how Martin and his team plan to proceed after being hit with this multimillion-dollar lawsuit remains unseen because they have yet to publicly respond. Still, they appear to be aware of Drucker's claims because the former manager claims she was asked to remain silent. The court docs allege, "Martin has now threatened Rebecca and is attempting to force her to sign an agreement with a nondisclosure clause to silence Rebecca about the abhorrent behavior by Martin that she has both witnessed and endured." Drucker had worked with Martin on and off since 2014, which was the year the star switched management teams

The star's former bandmates alleged the group was abused

Puerto Rican boy band Menudo was carefully manufactured to garner success. The group's management team imposed strict rules on the outfit, such as age limits. According to The Chicago Tribune, members were required to be between 12 and 15 years old. This particular rule meant the roster was in a state of flux, and as of this writing the band has had nearly 40 different members

It turns out that horrific things went on behind the scenes involving the band's young, vulnerable lineup. These shocking details came to light in the 2022 HBO docuseries "Menudo: Forever Young" (via USA Today). Former manager Edgardo Díaz was allegedly at fault for much of the abuse the band's members endured, and he required the boys' parents to sign over their parental rights. Per the docuseries, Díaz has denied the allegations. 

In the series, former group member Angelo Garcia explained that he was sexually assaulted by someone associated with Menudo's team. Former members Andy Blázquez and Jonathan Montenegro recalled equally disturbing details about being assaulted by members of the band's production team. You might be surprised to hear that despite the trauma the teens endured, it was announced in July 2022 that Menudo is making a comeback. According to Variety, Mario Lopez is hosting the talent search for new members.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The death of Jenni Rivera

Ricky Martin fans might recall the collaboration between the former "General Hospital" star and fellow Latin musician Jenni Rivera. The talented duo teamed up to release the song "Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tú," or "The Best Thing About Me Is You" in 2010. Sadly, Rivera died in a plane crash in 2012. According to USA Today, it was reported that the musician's plane plummeted 28,000 feet, and she was among seven people who died after the aircraft hit the ground.

Martin and a number of other celebrities close to Rivera released touching statements following the star's death. The "La Mordidita" singer tweeted out a statement that suggested he was hit hard by the tragedy. "This is sad. In a bit of shock," he stated. "Much peace to her family." Following the deadly crash, an investigation by Mexico's aviation investigation agency revealed that negligence contributed to the incident, per CNN. It was concluded that the plane's 78-year-old pilot could not safely perform his duties. Additionally, the Learjet was flying unevenly. As a result, the family members of those who died in the crash were awarded $70 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

He was pressured to come out publicly

Ricky Martin's journey to self-acceptance wasn't an easy ride. The Puerto Rico native opened up about navigating the entertainment industry as a gay Latin pop artist in his memoir, "Me," and in numerous interviews over the years. In a 2021 People cover story, the "Canción Bonita" singer went into detail about exploring his sexuality. Martin told the magazine, "[Sexuality is] not black and white. It's filled with colors. When I was dating women, I was in love with women. It felt right, it felt beautiful. You can't fake chemistry —the chemistry was there with them. I wasn't misleading anyone."

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Martin revealed that he was often pressured by those around him to reveal more than he was comfortable with. "I hated it when people tried to force me out when I wasn't ready," he told the outlet. "It was very painful, and it actually pushed me away from doing so." The star also explained that he feared how the public might react to him coming out. Despite pressure from those around him, Martin first made an announcement regarding his sexuality on his own terms in 2010. He took to his website to share (via TMZ), "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."

He struggled with anxiety during the pandemic

Like many people, Ricky Martin had a hard time coping with the harsh realities of living through the coronavirus. During an interview with Oprah Daily, the musician revealed that his EP "Pausa" helped him overcome his pandemic-induced mental health struggles. "I was really anxious, the level of anxiety that I was dealing with was completely unrecognizable," the singer admitted. "I needed to write about this [for my album] and I needed to share it with my audience and my social media. And a lot of people are saying 'Thank you Rick, I'm not the only one.'" The father of four went on to explain that it was important for him to prioritize his mental health so that he could teach his children about the importance of processing their emotions.

In addition to impacting his mental health, COVID-19 prevented the singer from seeing his father, Enrique Martin, for some time. As the AP reported in 2016, Ricky's father was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. Given Enrique's health history and potential vulnerability to the virus, Ricky waited a while to visit. In November 2020, the singer spoke to Access Daily (via HOLA!) about finally reuniting with Enrique. "I haven't seen my father since everything started and unfortunately he was a little bit sick, but now I'm going to Puerto Rico and everything's gonna be fine," Ricky said.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

He felt 'violated' after his interview with Barbara Walters

Back in 2000, Barbara Walters' invasive interview with Ricky Martin added to the pressure the star felt to open up about his sexuality before he was ready. Martin has since spoken about how traumatizing the sit-down was, but it was obvious even at that moment that the star was uncomfortable with Walters' questions. In the interview (via ET Canada), Martin is hesitant to respond after Walters states, "You know you could stop these rumors. You could say, as many artists have 'Yes I am gay,' or you could say, 'No I'm not,' or you could leave it as you are, ambiguous." He eventually admitted he was simply not up for answering the question.

In a 2021 interview with People, Martin shared he still finds the conversation unsettling decades later. "When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out," he told the magazine. "I was very afraid. There's a little PTSD with that." The singer went on to share that he's considered what he would do if given an opportunity to redo that moment. "Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview," he said. "It would've been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing."

A decade after conducting the interview, Walters told the Toronto Star that she wishes she could take the question back, acknowledging that it was out of line.

The homophobic response to an intimate magazine cover

Since coming out, Ricky Martin has publicly displayed his love for his husband, Jwan Yosef, throughout their relationship. In June 2021, the couple posed on the cover of CAP 74024 magazine together. The cover photo, which was shared to Martin's Instagram account, features the pair passionately embracing one another. What should have been a happy moment for the couple sadly wasn't well-received by hateful commenters who left homophobic messages. The hate got so bad that Martin had to issue a statement addressing the social media trolls.

He took to Instagram to share a series of photos wearing long, colorful acrylic nails, seemingly displaying the fact that he refuses to let bigoted comments dim his light. The caption of the post read in part, "A week ago, I uploaded some photos with my husband for a special edition of Cap 74024 Magazine. It was a wonderful experience for both of us to celebrate our pride. What I did not expect, especially after all the work that has been done for so many years, is that a large number of people decided to stop following us or comment in a derogatory way." The musician went on to empathize with those who feel lost as a result of mistreatment and prejudice.