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Together in Pride: CBS2 catches up with former Menudo member Cesar Abreu

Cesar Abreu, former "Menudo" member, discusses living his truth
Cesar Abreu, former "Menudo" member, discusses living his truth 02:17

NEW YORK -- In CBS2's latest Together in Pride segment, we profile a Washington Heights man who was in one of the most successful boy bands of all time.

CBS2's Dave Carlin talked to one of the former stars of Menudo about a new television docuseries, his many successes after he left the group, and how living his truth kept him grounded and happy.

Earlier this month at the National Puerto Rican Day parade in Manhattan, a blast from the past rolled by and the crowd roared its approval.

Sharing the float was Cesar Abreu and other former members of the boy band sensation that was Menudo.

Abreu was a standout member of Menudo, which was founded in 1977. He was 12 when he joined in 1990.

"I felt proud to be on the float with them. It did feel like my life is coming full circle," the Washington Heights resident said.

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His story is featured in a new HBO show. The four-episode doc "Menudo: Forever Young" charts the group's rise and scandals alleging abuse.

"This documentary goes and opens up the curtain," Abreu said.

Abreu said he knew he was gay in his early teens and it was difficult keeping it secret while being a star. He said he was bullied.

"That didn't feel safe. That didn't feel right," he said.

His family noticed the pressure and helped remove him from the group.

Looking back, Abreu said he is glad.

"I find myself being one of the lucky ones," he said. "I was able to leave before two of my co-members were caught with drugs in an airport. It almost felt like I dodged a bullet."

He didn't miss a beat as he moved to Miami at age 14, the same year he came out as gay.

"Allowed me to to really develop a strong sense of self and understand that without authenticity and honesty you are bound to live a very unhappy life," Abreu said.

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He graduated from NYU, appeared in national tours of Broadway shows and with several dance companies. For the past 16 years he has danced at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.

Abreu continues to perform, but he's also taking on a new role lately behind the scenes as a producer.

"I think producing concerts and allowing for that space to be opportunities for other artists to thrive is really what I am envisioning for this part of my life," Abreu said.

His advice is be yourself, keep going, and you can soar and succeed.

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