Legendary singer of hits such as “Copacabana (At The Copa)” and “Mandy” Barry Manilow has opened up about his sexuality for the first time aged 73.
In a frank and open interview with People, the notoriously private Manilow spoke about how he’d avoided discussing his sexuality amid fears of disappointing his fans, and talked about his marriage to his manager and partner of 39 years Garry Kief.
Speaking at his Palm Springs home, the singer told how, two years ago, there was some speculation about his relationship with Kief, something he said was both a “blessing and a curse.”
“I thought I would be disappointing [to my fans] if they knew I was gay,” the singer admitted. “So I never did anything.”
Manilow, who rose to fame in the early ’70s after working closely with Bette Midler, discussed how, following his one-year marriage to high school sweetheart Susan Deixler, his personal life took a backseat so that he could focus on his career. “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats — I was too young,” he said. “I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Continuing, Manilow spoke about how for years he remained single, until he met Garry Kief in 1978.
“I knew that this was it,” he said. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
In the interview, Manilow discussed how, initially, Kief found it hard to deal with his fame, recalling one specific incident where fans showed up and were rocking a car the couple were in. Luckily, the pair stayed together, with the singer saying of his husband, “He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life, and a great guy, too.”
When rumors began to circulate two years ago that Kief and Manilow were married, the singer noted that he was afraid that his fans would turn their back on him. However, he soon found that it wasn’t the case.
Following the reveal of his People cover, Manilow took to Twitter to thank his fans for the positive reaction to his news.
“Thank you to my fans for the years of support. My story is out and I look forward to many more years of sharing my music,” the 73-year-old wrote.
We couldn’t be happier for Barry, and we’re wishing him and Garry all the happiness for the future.
Meanwhile, Barry Manilow releases his new album This Is My Town on April 21st.
For more on Barry Manilow’s life, love and legacy, pick up the latest issue of People, on newsstands everywhere Friday.