After spending almost 40 years in a relationship with another man, singer Barry Manilow has come out as gay.
The 73-year-old earned himself legions of (mostly female) fans during his 1970s prime, when he ruled the airwaves with soulful love songs like “Mandy” and “Looks Like We Made It”.
But in an interview with People published this week, Barry has revealed that he’s been in a relationship for almost four decades with his manager Garry Kief, who he met in 1978.
When he met Garry, the singer says: “I knew that this was it.
“I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
Barry married his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler after graduating, but the union only lasted for a year. “I wasn’t ready for marriage,” the star explains of the ill-fated relationship.
But with Garry, things are different, with the two tying the knot in a secret ceremony in 2014.
"He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life - and a great guy, too,” Manilow says of his husband, who still acts as the singer's manager.
Though Barry's sexuality has long been what he calls an “open secret”, the People interview is the first time he’s publicly confirmed it.
"I thought I would be disappointing them [fans] if they knew I was gay,” he told the publication. “So I never did anything.”
He added in an interview with Entertainment Tonight: "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.”
Meanwhile, the singer’s fans have thrown their support behind the couple. "When they found out that Garry and I were together, they [the fans] were so happy,” Barry told People. “The reaction was beautiful — strangers commenting 'great for you!'”
“I'm just so grateful for it.”