Enrique "Ricky" Martín Morales (born December 24, 1971), better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican pop singer and actor who achieved prominence, first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991.
During his career he has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He is the founder of Ricky Martin Foundation (in Spanish Fundación Ricky Martin), a non-profit charity organization. Ricky Martin's exuberant 1999 single "Livin' la Vida Loca" made him a prominent figure of Latin dance-pop. Martin got his start with the all-boy pop group Menudo; after five years with the group, he released his Spanish-language solo album, Ricky Martin, in 1991. He also acted on stage and on TV in Mexico, becoming a modest star there.
In 1994 he starred on the American TV soap opera General Hospital, playing a Puerto Rican singer. In 1999, after several albums in Spanish, he released his first English-language album (also titled Ricky Martin), which included the salsa-style "Livin' la Vida Loca". The album sold 17 million copies and brought Martin international fame. His other albums include A Medio Vivir (1995), Vuelve (1998), Sound Loaded (2000, with the hit "She Bangs"), Life (2005), and the compilation album 17 (2008). In 2010 Martin announced that he was a "fortunate homosexual man", ending years of fan speculation on the topic..
Martin's twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, were born via a surrogate mother in 2008. Martin also co-owns a Miami restaurant, Casa Salsa, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007
On the edge of the new millennium, Martin—almost by himself—gave Latino music an international face. An acclaimed performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards launched Martin into worldwide super-stardom. As Entertainment Weekly's Andrew Essex reported, "his leather-pants, electro-pelvis version of 'La Copa de la Vida' single-handedly goosed a very dull [Grammy] telecast, earning him a standing ovation."
Martin was born on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Nereida Morales, an accountant, and Enrique Martín Negroni, a psychologist. His parents divorced when he was two; his father remarried. Martin has two maternal half-brothers, Fernando and Ángel Fernández, and two paternal half-brothers, Eric and Daniel Martín, and a paternal half-sister Vanessa Martín.Martin grew up in a Roman Catholic home and was an altar boy until he joined Menudo. Martin has some Corsican and Catalan ancestry as his paternal fourth great-grandfathers were born in Rogliano, Cap Corse, Corsica, and Vilanova i la Geltrú, Catalonia.
Early solo work
After completing high school, Martin left San Juan and moved to New York City. Later, Martin moved to Mexico City where he attended the national school of space. He started in a musical-theater in 1989 named Mis Tennis Rojos (My red tennis shoes) next to Angelica Vale and then followed another theater productions Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock). He then participated in a telenovela (soap opera) titled Alcanzar Una Estrella II (Reach for a Star 2) next to Sasha Sökol. Out of this soap opera a musical group was formed named Muñecos de Papel in which he was one of the 6 members; they toured several cities in Mexico and recorded 2 albums. His main single was Juego de Ajedrez. A film based on the TV series was also produced in which Martin played Pablo, earning a Heraldo Award in 1993.
While acting in Mexico, Martin was signed to Sony Discos, the company's Latin imprint, in 1990. He released his first solo album, the Spanish-language Ricky Martin, in 1991, which included the single "Fuego Contra Fuego". The hit release earned Gold records in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico, and he performed a string of sold-out concert dates across South America.
In 1993, Martin released his second solo album, Me Amarás, which featured a Spanish-language cover of the Laura Branigan hit "Self Control", as "Que Día Es Hoy", and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
Martin moved to Los Angeles, California in 1994 and landed a role as bartender and singer Miguel Morez in the American soap opera General Hospital.