Ricky Martin’s parents: His teenage fallout with his parents discussed

Ricky Martin, rightly considered the King of Latin Music, is trending following reports that he was in a relationship with his 21-year-old nephew. In early July 2022, Martin, who, as far as we can tell, is still married to Jwan Yosef, was served with a restraining order from an ex he’d allegedly broken up with two months before. A rep for Martin said:

“The allegations against Ricky Martin that led to a protection order are completely false and fabricated. We are very confident that when the true facts come out in this matter our client Ricky Martin will be fully vindicated.”

At the time, the petitioner’s identity was kept secret. Two weeks later, reports identified him as Martin’s much younger nephew, Dennis Yadiel Sanchez. 

Ricky Martin was born on 24th December 1971 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Dona Nereida Morales and Enrique Martin Negroni. Dona had two sons – Fernando and Angel Fernandez – from a previous relationship before marrying Enrique. 

After Dona and Enrique divorced two years later, Enrique remarried, welcoming two sons – Eric and Daniel Martin – and a daughter, Vanessa Martin. Ricky, therefore, had two maternal half-siblings and three paternal half-siblings. 

His father hailed from a Spanish family that immigrated to Puerto Rico in the 18th century. Ricky told ABC Culture:

“My ancestry comes from the Basque country and the Canary Islands. The Martins traveled from Spain to Puerto Rico in 1779. What can I say that I don’t already know? I love Spain for its culture, its people, spectacular landscapes and food. They have always treated me with so much love and affection that it is always difficult for me to leave.”

Ricky was an altar boy growing up, but he was destined for a different stage. Martin discovered his love for performance after Enrique sent him to Colegio Sagrado Corazon, a Catholic grade school in University Gardens. 

Enrique fostered Ricky’s talent by taking him to auditions; by age 11, Ricky had starred in 11 commercials. “He was cast each time he went to an audition,” Enrique told People. “They told him, ‘Do this,’ and he would do it. He had an incredible ability.” 

By the time Ricky’s career took flight, Dona and Enrique had long since divorced. The pair remained friends, and though Dona had Martin’s custody, she didn’t deny him time with his father. 

“I never had to make decisions about who I loved more,” Ricky told People. “I was always happy.”

Enrique managed Martin’s rapidly soaring career and growing hubris. Ricky told Rolling Stone that early in his career, he asked to be independent based on the money he was making from commercials:

“It was good money: $1,600 the first day and residuals every six months. After that I said, ‘Dad, I want to become independent.’ He was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ ‘Well, now I have money, I can pay for my school and books, and I want a bicycle.’”

The next step in Martin’s career involved auditioning for the boy band Menudo. His first two auditions failed before joining the band as its then-youngest member in 1984. Weeks after Dona and Enrique signed the contract, Marin performed before a packed Radio City Music Hall.

“One day I was riding my bike to the park, and the next I was performing in front of 200,000 people,” Ricky said. 

Menudo brought Ricky fame and fortune; on the flip side, it caused a rift between Martin and his family. The band’s management denied Ricky’s request to see his ailing maternal grandfather, who died when Martin was on tour. 

Martin spent a lot of time outside Puerto Rico performing with Menudo. When Martin returned, his parents argued over who he should spend time with. “They kept asking me, ‘Who do you want to be with?’” Ricky told People. “It’s a terrible thing to ask a child.”

Ricky chose his mother, effectively ending relations with Enrique. Unfortunately, his relationship with Dona also deteriorated. “We were always fighting,” Martin told Ocean Drive magazine. “I hated to be in my house. My career destroyed my family.”

By the mid-1990s, Martin had reconciled with his mother but not his dad. Therapy sessions had failed to bridge the chasm between Ricky and Enrique – but the singer didn’t give up. Following the death of his paternal grandfather in 1995, Martin decided he’d had enough. 

“I couldn’t live with [the estrangement] anymore,” he said. “One of us had to let go of the past and take the first step. He was the father. I knew it had to be me.”

Martin and his family have a close relationship, which he occasionally flaunts on social media. In June 2016, he posted a photo of Enrique alongside the following caption: “Enrique Martin. The best father/ grandfather in the world. PERIOD. TE AMO PAPA.”

Ricky told Oprah that he learned early on that he was gay and that it was unacceptable. “I was told the way I was feeling was a mistake,” Martin said. “I was told what I was feeling, that my emotions were evil.”

Therefore, Martin suppressed his sexuality and pursued relationships with women. He dated Mexican singer Alejandra Guzman, but the romance ended in a broken heart for Ricky: Guzman chose to stay with her husband. 

When he traveled to the United States to star in General Hospital, Ricky embraced his sexuality and started dating a man. Martin fell in love with him and was heartbroken when the relationship ended. Ricky told Oprah that he came out to his mom in the aftermath of the breakup:

“I was sad and my mom asked me, ‘Are you in love, my son?’ And I said, ‘Yes, Mom, I am in love.’ [She asked], ‘Is it with a man?’ [I said], ‘Yes, Mom, it’s with a man.”

Dona unreservedly accepted Martin’s sexuality. Martin told Attitude magazine: “She said: ‘I love you, my son, I’m so happy for you. Bring it on. I’m right behind you.” However, Dona worried about the impact of Martin’s sexuality on his career. Martin told Oprah:

“She said: ‘Oh, my God, what’s going to happen to my child? What’s going to happen to his career?’ Unfortunately, people [were] not ready back then, and unfortunately we’re still dealing with this issue of homophobia.”

Ricky’s dad also accepted his sexuality. “I have a really cool dad,” Martin said. Coming out to his parents had gone well, but he wasn’t ready to open up to the world. Martin told Oprah that he interpreted the breakup as a sign that he wasn’t supposed to date men. 

He went on to date women, but the relationships didn’t change his sexuality. “I am not bisexual,” Ricky said. “I am a gay man.” Martin came out to the world two years after welcoming his twin sons, Valentino and Matteo. He told Oprah:

“If I didn’t come out for them, what was I going to be teaching them? How to lie? I don’t want my family to be based on lies. I want to be transparent to them. I want them to be proud of their dad. I want them to be proud of themselves, of their family.”

According to Puerto Rican media, the petitioner against Ricky claimed he was in a relationship with the singer for seven months. Per Yahoo life, the local report reads:

“The parties were related for seven months. They separated two months ago, but [Ricky] does not accept the separation. [Ricky] calls him frequently. In addition, the petitioner has seen him hanging around his residence on at least three occasions. The petitioner fears for his safety.” 

Ricky’s half-brother, Eric, identified the petitioner as Dennis Yadiel Sanchez during a Facebook Live session addressing the claims. Eric said a petitioner could get a protective order without telling the truth. 

Eric defended Ricky by casting doubt on Dennis’ assertions. He also said he believes Dennis has mental health problems and added that Dennis is estranged from family members he’s hurt before. 

Ricky’s attorney, Matt Singer, released a statement alleging that Dennis has mental health challenges and denying Ricky’s involvement in the alleged relationship. The statement reads:

“Ricky Martin has, of course, never been – and would never be – involved in any kind of sexual or romantic relationship with his nephew. The idea is not only untrue, it is disgusting. We all hope that this man gets the help he so urgently needs.”

Martin is set to appear in court in mid-July 2022. If found guilty, he faces up to 50 years imprisonment: Puerto Rican law sets harsher penalties for some sexual crimes when incest is involved. 

However, Singer is confident that the judge will dismiss the case. “Most of all, we look forward to this awful case being dismissed as soon as a judge gets to look at the facts,” Singer’s statement reads.