Barry Manilow is explaining why he took so long to acknowledge publicly that he's gay, even after he married his longtime manager/partner: He was afraid of "disappointing" his fans.
Manilow told People on Wednesday that he was always hesitant to come out and discuss his relationship with Garry Kief, even after nearly four decades together and after he finally married Kief in a clandestine ceremony at their 53-acre Palm Springs estate in April 2014.
When news of the marriage and Manilow’s sexuality made headlines in 2015, the Grammy award-winning singer says, he considered it "a blessing and a curse.” Although it was an open secret to some in his long-devoted, mostly female fan base, known as the "Fanilows," it was a shock to others.
“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” says Manilow. Later, “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.”
At the time Manilow and Kief married, People reported it was a surprise even to the couple's 20 to 30 guests, who attended what they thought was a lunch at the Palm Springs estate.
The National Enquirer, who had the story first, reported Manilow's longtime friend and Palm Springs neighbor, Suzanne Somers, was the best man. Manilow's rep at the time declined to comment.
Manilow, 73, has long tried to keep his sexual orientation out of the public eye. His private life, he's maintained over years of touring and Las Vegas residencies, is private.
Now he's welcomed People to Palm Springs for an interview and photo shoot with Kief.
“I’m so private," Manilow said. "I always have been.”