Singer Barry Manilow has spoken about his marriage and sexuality for the first time after fearing his fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay.
The private star, 73, kept his sexuality hidden for decades but said he has been moved by the “beautiful” reaction of his supporters since news of his wedding to manager Garry Kief broke in 2015.
The couple have been together for nearly 40 years but Barry has only now spoken about his husband.
He told People magazine: “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.”
The couple married in a secret ceremony in Palm Springs, California, in April 2014, and in 2015 news of their marriage and Barry’s sexuality made headlines.
The singer, best known for hits including Mandy and Copacabana, said the revelation was “a blessing and a curse” and he received an outpouring of support from fans.
He said: “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.”
Barry was briefly previously married to his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler and said he was not struggling with his sexuality while they were married.
He told the magazine: “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats – I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
In 1978 he met Garry, saying of the executive: “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.”
However, the relationship was not without obstacles, with Barry saying Garry struggled with their relationship after attending a concert.
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.