The Interview: Oh, Ricky!

BY Jeremy Kinser

March 11 2012 10:25 PM ET

 "I was seduced by the madness and the fame," Ricky Martin says, letting out a deep breath as he leans back on a sofa in a studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The 40-year-old superstar's chiseled features, which once made him an MTV fixture, ensure he's still boyishly handsome, but there's also a well-earned maturity that wasn't evident when Martin became a household name. "Once I took a moment to step out of the spotlight and create my family, I thought it was the perfect moment to have this stability."

Having settled down with his partner and two children in New York this winter, Martin has found a constancy that seemed to be missing when he first became a superstar more than a dozen years ago. The singer is in many ways liberated, certainly from the closet in which he hid his sexual orientation. Perhaps the best word for Martin is one he used to describe himself last year while accepting an award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: free.

He may be free, but today Martin is a very busy man and on a rigid schedule. Martin arrives at the studio for this interview and photo shoot accompanied by his longtime publicist, John Reilly, and his manager, Jose Vega, who's been with him since he joined the wildly popular Puerto Rican singing group Menudo when he was 12 years old. He's just come from a wardrobe fitting for Evita, a Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's celebrated political-themed musical; it's the reason for his move to New York. And though he says he's eager to get home to see his twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, Martin takes time to offer a friendly smile and firm handshake to everyone on the small crew assembled for the photo shoot. Although it's a brutally chilly Friday afternoon in Manhattan, Martin is gregarious and warm.

Martin's charisma appears effortless and genuine, and his magnetism isn't reserved for the cameras. The crew, most of whom are gay men, exchange glances to signify that this will be an exciting afternoon. Even the lesbian studio manager — no stranger to superstar photo sessions — is hovering about, clearly smitten with Martin.

His crossover appeal is, by now, almost legendary.







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