Inquirer.net/Asia News Network
Ricky Martin performs onstage during the 20th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AFP/Kevin Winter)
The first two weeks of quarantine was “overwhelming” for Ricky Martin, who has had to grapple with the pervading sense of “uncertainty, fear, anxiety and grief”.
However, he had no choice but to put up a brave front for the sake of his four children. “It was sad. And then I was obviously poker face because my kids, they need to see me strong. They need to see me happy. It has been intense,” he admitted in a recent interview with The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“But I’m doing better now. I’m in a really good place. Everyone is healthy,” assured Ricky, who’s isolating at home with his four kids: twin boys Matteo and Valentino, 11; daughter Lucia, 1, and son Renn, 7 months. Also with the Puerto Rican singer are his husband, artist Jwan Josef, and mother, Nereida.
Thankfully, the pop star has already settled into a balanced quarantine routine that allows for work and creativity, bonding moments with his loved ones, and some much-needed dose of “me time.”
“It has been extremely important for me to be up at least an hour before everyone does (around 6:15 a.m.). That time of silence in the house is amazing for sitting on the couch with my coffee, for meditation, for going over my emails,” Ricky shared with USA Today’s “Quarantine Diaries” series. Breakfast together is an absolute must. “For me, it’s religious to have breakfast with my kids every day. It ranges from oatmeal to scrambled eggs. Lots of cheese, please. That’s all I ask,” he said.
As for staying in shape, he admitted that he hasn’t picked up a dumbbell in the past 90 or so days because he just couldn’t find it in him to work out.
“I haven’t been to the gym! Your self-esteem gets so affected when you go on social media and see everybody working out, but the last thing I want to do is pick up a dumbbell,” he said. “We have a little room where my husband works out. And I pass by, say, hi, and keep walking. It’s just not where I’m at at this point.” “But I’m healthy. I’m eating good and I’m active,” said Ricky, who also stressed the importance of maintaining one’s mental well-being.
That’s why he said he has been gradually inviting some of his “very close friends” over—while observing safety protocols of course. “Even with distance, it’s good to be able to sit down and have good laughter with people you trust.”
And while working out isn’t working out for him, Ricky’s household chore game, on the other hand, has been on point. “Cleaning windows, cleaning toilets and obsessively sweeping my office… I was talking to my mom the other day while I was sweeping the floor, and she told me, ‘Sit down and talk to me! You can’t sit still!” he recalled. Ricky, a former member of the boy group Menudo who helped popularize Latin pop in the mainstream with his 1999 hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, has recently dropped his new, ballad-heavy EP, Pausa. The cover art was shot by his husband, making do with the limited resources they have at home—they had to be “ready to work with what we have.”
“I had to take pictures for the album and I wasn’t going to break quarantine. He’s an artist. And though he doesn’t specialize in photography, he studied (painting) in college. I told him I wanted to be naked with my torso in front of a wall,” said the 48-year old singer, adding that the quarantine has helped him realize “what’s important and what’s not.”
His twins have been homeschooled since they were toddlers. But beyond the formal lessons, Ricky feels that it’s his duty as a parent to be “transparent” and educate his kids about what’s happening around them—like the ongoing protests against racial injustice. “Give them love, and answer with honesty—that’s what we have been doing since Day 1. It’s time to talk about injustice and how, because of the color of your skin, you’re treated differently. We talk about similarities and differences and try to create a full spectrum of ideas,” he said
Ricky also guides his kids on how to be in tune and process their feelings. “I ask them every day, ‘How do you feel?’ If they say ‘good,’ I say, ‘That’s not a feeling—let’s try again,’” he said. “So they start recognizing the real meaning behind each emotion, and it’s fantastic.”
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