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Ecuadorian actor and model Roberto Manrique has come out publicly as gay in a heartfelt post on Instagram to fans and partly addressed to his younger self.
Manrique, 42, is best known for his steamy roles in popular telenovelas including Doña Bárbara, Victorinos and Sin Senos Sí Hay Paraíso. In a video on Instagram, Manrique said that opening up about his sexuality was part of his journey towards greater self-love.
“I want to tell you something very important and very personal,” the actor said, Instinct Magazine reported.
He continued: “Something which I have never confessed before, but now I feel the urge to do so. And, it has to do with my sexuality.
“It had never seemed important to me to say that I am homosexual because I never considered that to be relevant.
“I felt that other aspects of myself were the priority, and I still think that is the case.”
Roberto Manrique shared that there had been a “few weird days” and “weird weeks” where he “couldn’t identify what was wrong”, but he realised after some self-reflection that he had not “finished loving myself”.
He then opened about how his younger self – who he affectionately referred to as “Robertito” – grew up in a “world that didn’t allow him to be who he was”. The actor explained how Robertito felt that “crying was not manly” and “vulnerability was not worthy”.
“Instead, it was judged. Let alone the fact that I liked men, and that I felt, for as long as I can remember, that there was something wrong with me,” Manrique recalled. “How can I not continue to feel some guilt for being who I am?”
The model shared that openly discussing his sexuality is a step closer to finally healing the guilt and hurt felt by Robertito.
“I don’t really feel like I’m coming out of the closet, but I was fooling myself and a part of me didn’t feel right until I told that Robertito inside: ‘You don’t have to feel guilty about it’,” Manrique said.
In the video, he also shared that he has been dating someone – who he referred to as his “beautiful partner”, which aw – and they have been in a blissful relationship and “in love for seven years.
“You cannot imagine how we have grown, how we have driven each other,” Manrique gushed.
He hoped his decision to come out publicly as gay would encourage others to embrace their individuality and find their happiness.
“We are perfect, wonderful and loving beings, just as we are,” Roberto Manrique said. “Anyone else who might hear this and feel like they have something to feel guilty about, you don’t have to. You are perfect.”