Barry Manilow is talking about his personal life for the first time in more than 40 years. Manilow, 73, has publicly come out as gay, confirming his 40-year romance with husband Garry Kief, and explaining why he kept his secret for so long.
“I’m so private,” Barry told People magazine. “I always have been.”
Barry Manilow now says he didn’t want to “disappoint” his mostly-female fans by coming out as gay, so he just kept quiet about his private life.
“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay,” Barry said. “So I never did anything.”
A post shared by Barry Manilow (@barrymanilowofficial) on
While he was married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, for one year in the mid-1960s and says he was in love with her, Manilow knew he found “the one” when he met Kief in 1978 and hired him to be his manager.
“I knew that this was it,” Barry revealed.
“I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
Barry Manilow married Garry Kief in a private wedding at their 53-acre Palm Springs estate in April 2014, but he has never publicly confirmed their relationship until now. At the time, People reported that the surprise ceremony was attended by just three guests who had been told they were attending a lunch. The couple did not sign any official paperwork out of fear the big news would be leaked, but both Manilow and Kief were reportedly wearing wedding bands.
— ES Entertainment (@StandardEnts) April 9, 2015
According to Radar Online, Manilow’s longtime friend, actress Suzanne Somers, stood in as Barry Manilow’s “best man,” while Barry’s longtime assistant Marc Hulett performed the ceremony after registering online to become a minister.
Somers actually “outed” Barry Manilow two years ago when she was a guest on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live. The Three’s Company actress told host Andy Cohen that she stood in for Barry during his wedding to Garry.
“They’re married and they’re happy and I was there when it was announced,” Somers said of the couple.
“They’ve been together for 30 years. I think it’s sweet. It’s freeing. He’s extremely private so it was very difficult. And it’s very difficult for me to talk about so I want to do it with complete respect and love…They’re my dearest friends.”
— HuffPostEnt (@HuffPostEnt) April 18, 2015
Manilow’s ex-wife Susan Diexler previously told the Daily Mail that she’s happy for Barry, despite the fact that he left her after one year of marriage to go on a “musical journey.”
“I wish him well,” Manilow’s ex said. “I’m happy for him. I’m glad that he’s found love and happiness. What happened between us, our relationship, is ancient history and I don’t want to dig back into ancient history. It’s 50 years ago. I’m a private person but I’m happy for him. I really am.”
While Barry Manilow’s coming out is a big deal to fans who have been following his career, the singer also received support from famous friends for publicly coming out at age 73.
Comedian Fortune Feimster took to Twitter to write that “coming out publicly at any age is a big deal,” while actor George Takei welcomed Manilow “to the club.” And actress Anna Kendrick shut down haters who seem to think Barry Manilow’s personal revelation is about them.
Anybody coming out publicly at any age is a big deal. Good for you, @barrymanilow! Enjoy the weight currently lifted off your shoulders.
— Fortune Feimster (@fortunefunny) April 5, 2017
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) April 5, 2017
Lot of people seem really proud of themselves for announcing they "already knew" Barry Manilow was gay. Yeah……ur the true heroes today guys.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) April 5, 2017
Barry Manilow also took to Twitter to thank fans for standing behind him all these years.
“Thank you to my fans for the years of support,” Barry wrote. “My story is out and I look forward to many more years of sharing my music.”
Take a look at the video below for more on Barry Manilow and his relationship with husband Garry Kief.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]