NEW YORK • Singer Barry Manilow came out of the closet on Wednesday at age 73, saying he kept silent on his almost 40-year relationship with a man to avoid disappointing his mostly female fans.
He and his manager Garry Kief had been together for years before marrying quietly in Palm Springs, California, in 2014. A year later, his close friend, actress Suzanne Somers, revealed the marriage on a television talk show, but he never confirmed or commented on it.
"When they found out that Garry and I were together, (the fans) were so happy. The reaction was beautiful - strangers commenting 'Great for you!' I'm just so grateful for it," he told People magazine in an interview released on Wednesday.
The Brooklyn native was briefly married to a woman he dated in high school, although he said the relationship failed because he was too young to settle down, not because of his questions about his sexuality.
He said he met Mr Kief, then a television executive, in 1978, a few years after he skyrocketed to fame with romantic ballads such as Mandy and Looks Like We Made It, and "I knew that this was it".
"I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that," Manilow said.
He also told television show Entertainment Tonight that he had never planned to make his relationship with Mr Kief public.
"We've been together all these years. Everybody knows that we're a team. Everybody that I know knows. So it never really dawned on me to say anything about it. I mean, I'm a very private guy," he said.
He gave the interviews while promoting his upcoming album, This Is My Town: Songs Of New York, and a limited series of United States concerts.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS