Singer Barry Manilow has spoken for the first time about being gay, revealing he kept his sexuality secret for years out of fear of disappointing his fans.
The 73-year-old, who married his long-term partner Garry Kief in 2014, said he “never did anything” to address speculation about his private life.
When news of the wedding broke, though, he found the reaction heartening.
“When they found out Garry and I were together, they were so happy,” he told People magazine.
“The reaction was so beautiful – strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”
Manilow and Kief, who is also his business manager, have been together for almost 40 years since their first meeting in 1978.
“I knew that this was it,” the singer is quoted as saying. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
Kief, he goes on, is “the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life – and a great guy, too.”
The couple married in a secret ceremony in Palm Springs, California, in April 2014, though it only came to light the following year.
Manilow, whose hits include Mandy, Copacabana and I Write the Songs, describes that revelation as “a blessing and a curse”.
The singer was previously married to his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler but admits he was “too young” to be wed at the time.
“I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats,” he is quoted as saying. “I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Manilow is to make a series of live performances next month in support of his latest album, This is My Town: Songs of New York.