In January 2018, internationally renowned performer — and daytime soap vet — Ricky Martin stars in FX’s THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY, his first U.S. acting gig since a 2012 appearance on GLEE. Martin plays Versace’s real-life partner, Antonio D’Amico, who initially took issue with the production. Here, Martin discusses his passion for the project, juggling work and family, and the special message he has for his old boss, former GH Executive Producer Wendy Riche.
Soap Opera Digest: Had you met Versace prior to his death in 1997?
Ricky Martin: No. At that time, I had a campaign with Giorgio Armani, so even though the Versaces invited me to all their fashion shows, I couldn’t go. Mr. Armani would be like, “What are you doing there [laughs]?” But, I definitely knew the work, and how sophisticated Mr. Versace was in so many aspects. The way this incredible production is bringing that to life, it’s brilliant — even scary, I could say.
Digest: When D’Amico spoke out against ACS, he stated that he hadn’t talked to you, but that has since changed. Tell us about that conversation.
Martin: It was so emotional to talk to him. We talked about very beautiful things, about the love that he had for Gianni, and that is something I really want to bring out. The love that they had was indestructible. The first thing that came out of my mouth when he picked up the phone was, “I’m so happy we’re talking, and I just want you to know that this is treated with utmost respect. I will make sure that people fall in love with your relationship with Gianni. That is what I’m here for. I want them to see the beauty and the connection that you had.” He was extremely happy about it. The way he sees love is something that I really appreciate. It has affected me in a very personal way.
Digest: How so?
Martin: The relationship between Gianni and Antonio is similar to things that I’ve been through. Before, I was not able to do this. I was not ready to play this kind of character, but the things that I’ve done, the things that I’ve lived, the ups and downs, the frustrations, the uncertainty, the fear of losing your career because of being a gay man — that is something that a lot of men and women are still struggling over. When Ryan [Murphy, executive producer] told me about this I said, “I need to be part of this. I need to get this off my chest for personal reasons, and I need to speak on behalf of people who are not fortunate enough to feel what I’m feeling in my life right now,” which is complete. I’m a gay man who lived in the closet for many years, and to see the process of Gianni actually coming out and sitting down in front of a journalist to talk about his sexuality is something that, obviously, moved me in many ways. Even though everybody knew about his relationship with Antonio, the fact that they couldn’t be as open as I am right now with my relationship is something that really frustrates me.
Digest: Speaking of which, how do
you balance the workload with your home life?
Martin: I immersed myself completely in this project. I dove into this completely and I told my partner and my family to please back me up, because this is as serious as it gets in the sense of the amount of emotions that I deal with every day. When I come back home, driving, I open the windows and I scream and I cry and I laugh if I have to before I walk into the house when my kids are awake.
Digest: Do you plan to do more acting after this?
Martin: Yes, for sure. I want to keep my feet on the ground, but I cannot wait for you to see my work. I’m not going to say anything else about it. I just hope you enjoy it. I have no words to describe how powerful it feels, how beautiful this has been. I’m addicted. When I leave my skin to become someone else, I tell you, my heart beats faster and I get goose bumps because I’ve never felt this in my life. After 35 years in the business, I’ve never been so inspired as I am right now.
Digest: Is there a dream role you’d love to play?
Martin: Musicals are something I’d like to bring to the big screen, eventually, but I’m not going to force it.
Digest: And your music?
Martin: The music will never stop. We can do acting. We can do music. We can do dancing. Let’s do the three of them [laughs].
Digest: Where does your Las Vegas residency at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino fit into your schedule?
Martin: Vegas is my escape. Vegas is walking into my playground. I’ve surrounded myself with amazing producers and we have created a very elegant show, I think, to the level of the standards of Vegas.
Digest: GH was your first major U.S. acting role. Do you have a message for your old boss, former GH Executive Producer Wendy Riche?
Martin: Oh, my God. Yes! I love you Wendy! Wendy, I am here today because of you.
Digest: You recently worked with your former Port Charles love interest, Lilly Melgar (ex-Lily et al). How was that?
Martin: Oh, Lilly! Yes, she produced and directed one of the videos in my show in Vegas. She did a wonderful job. She is amazing.
Digest: You can’t seem to get away from GH roots.
Martin: No, and I don’t want to! That was a time of intense adrenaline. Living here in Los Angeles and going into that studio every day was very heavy, you know? I really enjoyed it.
Digest: Do you miss Miguel’s long, wavy locks?
Martin: Nope [laughs]! Not at all.
Those Were The Days
During Martin’s time on GH, Rena Sofer (Quinn, B&B) played L&B Records co-owner Lois, who “discovered” Miguel and launched his successful recording career. “Ricky Martin is seriously one of the most handsome, adorable, kindest men you’ll ever meet,” shares Sofer. “He is such a lovely human being. He has an incredibly kind heart and kind spirit and I just adore him. I really do. And, I adored working with him. He had such a difficult time speaking English that I would always learn both of our lines so that I could prompt him in the middle of the scene if he needed it — and I’ve got to say, that never bothered me, not once, not in a million years. He just always made me so incredibly happy being around him and working with him.”
Did You Know?
• He was an altar boy as a child.
• Was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
• In January of 2013, he relocated to Sydney, Australia, to work as a judge on THE VOICE AUSTRALIA, a job he kept until 2015.
• He published his first children’s book, Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars, in November 2013.
Just The Facts
Birthday: December 24
Hails From: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Family Matters: Engaged to Syrian Swedish painter Jwan Yosef and father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, 9.
The Music Man: Was a member of the Latin boy band Menudo from age 12 to 17.
On The Record: In 1999, his first English-language, self-titled album sold 22 million copies, making it one
of the best-selling albums of all time.
Out And About: Martin came out publicly on March 29, 2010, via a post on his official website, stating: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”
Broadway Bound: He performed on Broadway in Les Misérables in 1996 as Marius and again in Evita in 2012 as Ché.