Barry Manilow has spoken about his sexuality for first time after fearing his fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay.
The pop icon, 73, publicly confirmed his relationship and marriage to manager Garry Kief, despite being together for nearly 40 years.
Speaking about their relationship he told People: “I’m so private. I always have been. I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.”
Manilow said he was shocked by the reaction from fans when they discovered he had been dating Kief.
“When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy,” he said. “The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”
Manilow – who is famed for hits including Mandy and Copacabana – met Kief, who is also President of Barry Manilow Productions, in 1978.
They married in a private ceremony on their Palm Springs estate in 2014.
Speaking about the first time they met, Manilow said: “I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.
“He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life — and a great guy, too,” about.”
Manilow said he feared his fans would deter Kief from a relationship. Recalling an encounter he said: “I got into the car with him, and [the fans] were rocking the car. He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. It’s not for me.’ I’m glad he stayed.”
Manilow was briefly married to Susan Deixler while he was a student at the New York College of Music. He said he was “in love” with her but “was not ready for marriage” as he was “out making music every night, sowing my wild oats”.