Barry Manilow Delayed Coming Out for Almost 40 Years for His Fans: ‘I Thought I Would Be Disappointing Them’

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Garry Kief and Barry Manilow. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If you need Barry Manilow to be straight in order to enjoy his soft-rock smash hits, then you really need to get your priorities together, buddy. In a new People profile, the 73-year-old “Mandy” singer discusses why he felt he had to stay closeted for decades, despite his 39-year-long relationship with partner Garry Kief. At the time, Manilow says he did it for the fans. “I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay,” the singer admits. “So I never did anything.” Instead, the multiplatinum king of easy listening attended events with longtime friend and rumored romantic partner Linda Allen. (Manilow was also briefly married to wife Susan Deixler for a year after graduating high school in 1961.) Only after he married Kief in a private ceremony in April 2014 did Manilow publicly acknowledge his sexuality, and their almost 40-year romance. Turns out, most Barry Manilow fans are pretty mellow. “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy,” Manilow says. “The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.” Four decades later, Manilow fondly recalls meeting Kief, a TV executive who eventually became the singer’s manager and president of Barry Manilow Productions, in 1978. “I knew that this was it,” Manilow remembers. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”

Barry Manilow Delayed Coming Out for Decades for His Fans