Despite being outed by Suzanne Somers in 2015, Barry Manilow has never officially confirmed his sexuality — at least until today. In an interview with People, Barry spoke out about being gay and talked about his nearly 40-year relationship with his husband, Garry Kief.
It turns out that Barry Manilow stayed quiet about his sexuality because he was afraid of how his fans would react. With his fanbase being primarily women, he didn’t want them to feel as if he was abandoning them.
“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything. When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”
The pair were married in a very private and intimate ceremony at their shared home in April of 2014. The ceremony was a surprise to the 20 to 30 guests who had been invited, who all thought that they were just there for a luncheon. The pair have been dating since 1978, but Barry’s desire for privacy kept him from publicly acknowledging their relationship.
Who Is Barry Manilow’s Husband, Garry Kief?
Garry Kief, besides being Barry Manilow’s husband, is also his business manager and president of Barry Manilow Productions. He also holds the titles of president and CEO of Stiletto Entertainment Group, a position he’s held since 1981.
According to their website, Stiletto Entertainment Group produces concerts, television shows, and theatrical productions around the world. They handle advertising, casting, contract negotiations, and schedules.
In 1970, Kief graduated from USC, where he studied broadcast journalism, marketing, and public relations. Barry is on record as saying that Kief is the smartest person he’s ever met.
In his role as Barry Manilow’s business manager, Garry handles all of the complex things that it takes to make Barry Manilow the person into Barry Manilow the star. According to their longtime friend Suzanne Somers, Garry is the one who makes everything happen.
“There’s Barry Manilow the performer, and then there’s the Barry ‘machine.’ It takes enormous savvy and know-how to book and market complicated arena tours, choreograph promotion, direct the entire team and make it look effortless, and that part is Garry’s domain. A major career takes two. Between them, there is enormous comfort and trust.”
Was Barry Manilow Ever Married Before?
Barry Manilow was previously married to Susan Deixler, his high school sweetheart. They married just out of high school, but the marriage only lasted a year. He maintains that he wasn’t struggling with being gay at that time and instead points to his youth as the reason for the end.
“I was in love with Susan. I just was not ready for marriage. I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats – I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Fan and Celebrity Reactions to the Announcement
Barry’s fans, both everyday and celebrity, have had nothing but positive reactions to the announcement. In fact, many are confused because they thought that Barry had come out years ago.
In a funny aside, the classic tune “I Write the Songs” was actually written by Bruce Johnston, but it was performed by Barry Manilow. Other reactions from Twitter fans summed up the sentiment as well. Barry Manilow is an amazingly talented musician, and fans could not care less that he is gay. Most are just glad that he’s trending on social media because he came out, not because he died.
For those who were trying to be sarcastic and brush the announcement off as lame, Anna Kendrick busted out a tweet that put them in their place.
As far as celebrities go, one of the first people to congratulate Barry on coming out officially was George Takei, one of the best-known openly gay actors in Hollywood.
Diane Warren, one of Barry Manilow’s closest friends, jokingly said that she was “still in shock” after finding out the news.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]