Everything We Know About Ricky Martin's Husband, Jwan Yosef

Ricky Martin is one of the most iconic stars of our time, but like many of the best, fame wasn't handed to him on a silver platter. Martin was raised in two simple households by divorced parents. The singer got his big break in a soda commercial for which he didn't even intend to audition. On "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," the queer icon revealed that he was accompanying his cousin, but the director asked him to step in instead (via Out). Likewise, many forget Martin's character in General Hospital too.

He understandably grappled with the idea of coming out, finding it harder to share his truth with his family than with the world. In an interview with Proud Radio, Martin discussed the stress he dealt with before coming out: "I could high-five God, but I wasn't living to the fullest. I was sad. I was depressed. I would walk on stage to perform because that was the only way I could balance my emotion is to snap out of this heavy sadness that I was moving in."

But eventually, the sadness caught up to him and Martin took a sabbatical from performing to go home and process his emotions in a healthier way (via Variety). Luckily for the singer, his parents were incredibly supportive. Martin's father told him to be "free and happy," and his mother reassured Martin that she had his back and would protect him against any potential jabs. Happily, in 2017, Martin announced his marriage to Jwan Yosef.

Jwan Yosef comes from a diverse background

Jwan Yosef is a Syrian-born artist who grew up in Stockholm. In an interview with the pan-Arab LGBTQ+ magazine MyKali, Yosef reminisced about his childhood: "I was born in Syria, and immigrated to Sweden with my family in the 1980s, when I was 2 years old. My parents' marriage was an unconventional one back home in Syria, my mother being Christian and my father being Muslim." As a result, he grew up surrounded by elements of both Arabic and Swedish culture.

Even though Yosef was considered an eccentric kid because of his interest in stereotypically feminine activities like dressing up and dancing, he never felt out of place thanks to the support of his friends and family. This inherent understanding and unconditional love helped to counteract the teasing from his peers and encouraged Yosef to stay true to himself. As a kid, he gradually drifted toward more creative endeavors like painting and playing instruments.

Although as an adult Yosef reconnected with his close relatives, he was happy there was a distance growing up because he didn't feel pressured to fit into their standards or to receive advice on how to live his life. And while he wished to visit his homeland again soon, Yosef argued: "The further away I am from Syria, the more Arab I feel. It's the way I look and act and speak."

Jwan Yosef is a conceptual artist

Given Jwan Yosef's creative roots, it's unsurprising that he chose to be an artist. When L'Officiel asked if he always wanted to be a painter, he replied, "For sure! I was painting and drawing since I was a kid. It was the most natural state for me." He also talked about how art college shaped him artistically, noting, "I did many years of art college but the work remains process and action based really. It all comes down to a foundation of making the work rather than laying a 'base coat' of theory." 

In an interview with Metal magazine, Yosef delved into the reasons behind his passion for painting: "I seriously enjoy the materiality of painting, the sense and look of wet paint is very seductive. In many ways it's the most natural state for me, to paint or make these objects." He added, "You are trained not to touch when you see a wet painting yet all you want to do is go for it, that exact sense is what I feel about painting."

But despite having so much inspiration, Yosef likes to keep his art minimal for the most part. He told Crush Fanzine that he wants to keep things simple artistically because minimalism allows him to express more, even though that may sound contradictory. According to the artist, "I feel that I am getting easier with things, and so my mind is getting much simpler. I think to frankly simplify everything further."

Jwan Yosef's art comes from the heart

Jwan Yosef's art imitates his diverse life. In a Vogue Arabia interview, Yosef discussed how duality is a big theme in his art because of the duality in his upbringing: "Being born in Syria from an Armenian mother and Kurdish father and growing up in Sweden has led to becoming a rather versatile person." As a result, "I can't sum it up into one single understanding. I want many things in life and I want to 'be' many things, too."

As a self-proclaimed "modern-nomad" who has lived in several places, Josef told MyKali Magazine how certain cities have heavily influenced his art. His first move from Stockholm to London helped Yosef view art through a broader lens. He spoke fondly about how the city helped him artistically: "My time there was about solidifying my role as an artist and entity in the art world."

Then, his second home Los Angeles made Yosef's creativity flourish and encouraged him to experiment more. He summarized the impact of travel on his art: "It has grown into a very adaptive art practice, mirroring the place I'm in at all times." Likewise, Yosef confirmed with L'Officiel that his close family also inspires his art. His husband and children's influence is especially prevalent in his work because he has a studio in their Los Angeles home.

Jwan Yosef's art won Ricky Martin's heart

Before falling in love with Jwan Yosef, Ricky Martin fell in love with his art. It almost seems fated because the "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer has always been an art collector. In a SiriusXM interview, Martin reminisced about the first time he saw Yosef's art on Instagram: "I'm scrolling and I see this beautiful piece of art, and I'm like 'Whoa, how cool! Who is this?' And then I start checking, and all of a sudden, I'm like 'Ooh, ooh...'" The singer was the one to make the first move by sliding into his future husband's DMs.

Their love story continued virtually as they texted back and forth, chatting all about art and life. He strongly stressed that there was nothing sexual about the relationship at that point. After six months of getting to know each other, Martin flew to London where Yosef was living at the time. It was game over pretty much from the moment he met Yosef. And, just a year after their courtship began, Martin popped the question.

He shared the details of the proposal during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," admitting, "I was really nervous, but I got on my knees and I took out the little velvet pouch. Instead of saying 'Would you marry me?' I said, 'I got you something. I want to spend my life with you,'" to which Yosef responded, "'What is the question?'" leading Martin to directly ask if he wanted to get married.

Jwan Yosef and Ricky Martin have a modern family

In 2018, Ricky Martin revealed to E! News that he had tied the knot with Jwan Yosef in a private ceremony, "We exchanged vows, and we've swear [sic] everything, and we've signed all the papers that we needed to sign, prenups and everything." He added, "It feels amazing! I can't introduce him as my fiancé. I can't. He's my husband. He's my man." The singer added that they were planning to have a three-day extravaganza to celebrate their marriage properly.

The couple has welcomed four children via surrogacy; a pair of twin boys, a girl, and another boy. In a 2013 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Martin shared that he and Yosef are raising their children to be multilingual, noting, "We speak Spanish in the house and English, but they go to a French school." His husband stressed the importance of raising their kids to appreciate their diverse backgrounds to MyKali, confirming he was teaching them Arabic.

Yosef gushed proudly, "I taught my kid how to count to ten in Arabic and she's only two, which is wonderful." The couple is working hard to broaden their children's view of a family too. When Vanity Fair asked Martin what he would say to his kids when they asked the whereabouts of their mother, he sweetly answered: "I'm your father and your mother. All families are different. There are families without fathers and some without mothers. There's nothing to feel bad about."