Barry Manilow is opening up about his homosexuality for the first time.
The notoriously private 73-year-old crooner had wed his longtime manager, Garry Kief, 68, at their Palm Spring, California estate in 2014. News of their nuptials was reported the following year. In an interview with People, posted Wednesday, he explains why he never discussed his sexuality publicly.
“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” Manilow 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.”
Manilow was previously married to a woman, his high school sweetheart, Susan Deixler. They split in 1965, after one year of marriage, and she obtained an annulment a year later.
“Even my friends felt that I was rushing into marriage. But I didn’t agree. I was on the road to the fantasy life with Susan that I had created years ago: the house in Long Island with the white picket fence and the kids playing in the yard,” Manilow wrote in his 1987 memoir Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise. “And I loved Susan.”
The singer told People he was “just was not ready for marriage.”
He said he did not struggle with his sexuality at the time of his and Deixler’s one-year anniversary, adding, “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats—I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
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