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Barry Manilow is finally opening up about his 40-year relationship with manager Garry Kief.
Manilow has not talked previously about his sexuality, even though it was widely reported in 2015 that he had married Kief the year before.
“I thought I would be disappointing [the fans] if they knew I was gay, so I never did anything,” he told People.
But their reaction was not as he expected. “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 and Kief were married in 2014 in a private ceremony at their Palm Springs home in a ceremony that was so secret, news of the nuptials didn’t surface until a year later.
The two began dating nearly 40 years ago, after Manilow scored hits with songs like “Mandy,” “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “Looks Like We Made It.” They met in 1978, and Kief became Manilow’s manager.
“I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that,” Manilow said, adding that Kief is “the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life — and a great guy, too.”
Kief is still the singer’s manager and also serves as president of Barry Manilow Productions.
Manilow was previously married to high school sweetheart Susan Deixler for one year, but says it wasn’t his struggles with his sexuality that led to their separation.
“I was in love with Susan,” he said. “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats — I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
While many on Twitter weren’t surprised about Manilow’s sexuality, he was applauded for opening up about it.
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) April 5, 2017
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) 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
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