Suzanne Somers has been friends with Barry Manilow for a long time, so when the singer finally decided to marry longtime partner and manager Gerry Kief, she got to take a front and center role.
Somers opened up about Manilow’s wedding, which she said was freeing for her friend who has been quiet about his sexuality for years. In an interview with Andy Cohen for Watch What Happens Live!, Suzanne said the ceremony was a long time coming for Manilow and Kief.
“They’re married,” Somers replied, “and really happy, and I was there when it was announced. And they’ve been together for 30 years.”
The 71-year-old singer had never publicly come out as gay before his wedding, but Suzanne Somers said it was a weight off his shoulders to finally get married no longer hide his love.
“I think it’s freeing… He’s extremely, extremely private, and I think it was very difficult, and it’s very difficult for me to talk about because I want to do it with complete respect and love. He’s an awesome person. They’re both awesome people, and they’re my dearest friends.”
Suzanne Somers even got to take part in the wedding, serving as “best man” for Barry Manilow.
Andy Cohen was surprised how long Manilow and Kief had been together, saying it was great for the singer to finally come out publicly.
“It’s wild,” he said. “He never formally came out and said it. It’s something everybody knew. It’s wonderful he’s been with his partner for 30 years.”
But Yahoo writer Robert Kessler offered a bit of context as to why Manilow never publicly confirmed his sexuality.
“It won’t exactly come as a shock to most people that Barry Manilow is gay — after all, he got his start working with Bathhouse Bette Midler — but keep in mind that he grew up in a different time; Manilow was already in his 20s when the Stonewall riots, which marked the start of the modern gay rights movement, began. The Enquirer writes that Manilow was very paranoid his fans wouldn’t approve of his being gay, so much so that he and Kief never filed the paperwork to make their marriage legal, for fear it would leak.”
Her details about Manilow’s wedding weren’t the only noteworthy things Somers had to say during the interview. She also addressed rumors that she could be headed to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on a permanent basis.
“I’ve seen that. Are you planting that? I loved showing up there,” Somers said. “I don’t know if I want to be there all the time, but I loved showing up there.”
Suzanne Somers had other great things to say about friend Barry Manilow, calling him “the Irving Berlin of our generation.”
[Image via Bravo]