Ricky Martin defended the right of pop stars to come out of the closet, saying he felt solidarity with Christian Chavez of Mexican band RBD, who recently said publicly that he is gay.

"Life is too short to live closed up, guarding what you say," said Martin — whose sexual orientation has been the subject of speculation — in an interview with The Associated Press. Christian "has to be free in many aspects. I wish him much strength."

Martin, who was named person of the year in 2006 by the Latin Recording Academy, has hits including "Livin' la Vida Loca" and "Shake Your Bon-Bon."

He said his nonprofit Ricky Martin Foundation inspires him in his songwriting. One of the foundation's programs, People for Children, works toward the elimination of human trafficking, especially trafficking of children.

"When you start to work with social problems, it gets the attention of the media and people think it's a farce," the 35-year-old singer said. "It's a spiritual search. The philanthropic work helps me write music and the music helps me in the philanthropic work."

Martin said it was 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 will tour the U.S. in April and May.

RBD, which spun off Mexico's wildly popular soap opera, "Rebelde," has achieved success throughout Latin America and among Spanish speakers in the United States.