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Ricky Martin defends right for gay pop stars to come out of closet

RickyMEXICO CITY (AP) - Puerto Rico's all-time top-selling artist Ricky Martin defended the right of gay pop stars to come out of the closet as he toured Mexico and geared up for his "Black and White" tour across the United States.

In an interview, Martin said he felt solidarity with Mexican Christian Sanchez, a singer of the group RBD who recently publicly said he is gay. "Life is too short to live closed up, guarding what you say," Martin said. Christian "has to be free in many aspects. I wish him much strength."

Puerto Rican news media have long speculated Martin is gay but he has avoided commenting on the topic.

Martin said his foundation People for Children, which helps exploited children worldwide, inspires him in his song writing.

"When you start to work with social problems, it gets the attention of the media and people think it's a farce," he said.

"It's a spiritual search. The philanthropic work helps me write music and the music helps me in the philanthropic work."

The singer, named Person of the Year in 2006 by the Latin Recording Academy, said it is great that more celebrities are working with charities.

"If this is a fashion, then I hope a lot more fashions like this come along," he said.

Martin plans to tour in the United States from California to Miami in April and May.

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HELLO KIKI

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