Ricky Martin Officially Comes Out As A Gay Man, But How Opportunistic Is The Timing?

Ricky Martin officially came out of the closet today on his website, as he’s in the process of cobbling together his memoirs and, well, how was he every going to skirt around that issue? “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” the singer wrote. “I am very blessed to be who I am.” It’s interesting timing, to the say the least. And, as always when pop stars open up about being gay, it raises a few points.

“A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life,” Martin writes on his site. “From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth.”

Okay, first of all, hooray for the liberating catharsis of creative expression. But, damn, Ricky—couldn’t you have come out when you were on top (ahem—of the music world, that is), rather than now, years after the fact, when you have a book to sell down the line?

On one hand, we want to applaud Martin for his courage. And, make no mistake, there have likely been several people in his camp who were more in control of Ricky’s sexuality—i.e. his honesty about it and disclosure of it—behind the scenes than he ever was. After all, Ricky Martin isn’t just an individual who croons into a microphone. As a 25-year+ showbiz veteran, he is a brand and a commodity.

But on the other hand, we kind of wish the Rickster had just lived the vida loca by taking control and ‘fessing up about being gay a decade ago, when he experienced his huge crossover mainstream success. Coming out now in the same statement that mentions—no, make that leads with—the fact that he’s writing a book just seems a bit lame. And for Gods’ sake, he doesn’t even mention being gay until the very last sentence of his seven-paragraph post.

It sort of brings to mind George Michael—who, granted, came out through different circumstances back in 1998. But even his big MTV interview on the subject that year served a dual purpose, the second part of which was to promote his hits package Ladies & Gentleman: The Best Of George Michael.

And when Lance Bass came out in 2006—years after NSync had parted ways—it was just ahead of his then-boyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl releasing his own memoir, Here’s What We’ll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Ditto for Ian “H” Watkins of British pop group Steps, who only stepped out of the closet after the band split and he was about to enter the house on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother.

All this said, we do have to remember that these examples were each years before the phenomenon that is Adam Lambert happened. Of course, who’s to say that Ricky couldn’t have been the one to usher in a new era of acceptance for same-sex-oriented pop stars had he been more vocal about his personal life in, say, 1999 or 2000?

“These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed,” reads part of Martin’s statement, just before he mentions being gay.

That’s true. And perhaps that really is the bottom line: to each their own.

So kudos for the admission, Ricky. We can’t say we were really shocked. But it sure would have been refreshing to hear you say this years ago—you know, when you didn’t have any product tied in with it.