The soft-rock and pop artist is finally opening up about why he waited so long to share the news with his fans.
Soft-rock singer Barry Manilow, 80, was featured as a guest on a recent episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace on Max.
The Grammy winner talked about his life and career, sharing why, after 39 years together, he decided to come out with his partner Garry Kief in 2017 at the age of 73.
During the peak of his career, the “Mandy” singer thought it would have been “disappointing” for fans if they found out he was a gay man. However, Manilow now shares there was a bit more to it than that.
“Well, in the ’70s, you know, you didn’t [come out],” Manilow told the veteran journalist. “It wasn’t the same as it is today. Now being gay is no big deal. But back in the ’70s, it would have killed a career.”
The singer-songwriter continued: “The public was not ready for anybody to come out. And, frankly, it was just too personal. I just didn’t want to talk about my personal life anyway. I never did that. I was happy talking about music. But talking about my personal life was just kind of creepy to me. So I never did.”
Wallace then asked if Manilow ever felt like he had to hide who he was. That’s when the famous singer responded how he “never thought about it.”
“Honestly, Chris, it was a non-event,” the “Ships” singer said. “And when we came out, it was — I think everybody knew that Garry and I were a couple all those years.”
Manilow and his husband, Kief, crossed paths in 1978, and soon after, Kief took on the role of the “Can’t Smile Without You” singer’s manager. They tied the knot in 2014, and Manilow credits Kief with saving his life.
“Garry actually kind of saved my life, because as my career exploded, as I said, it was crazy, and going back to an empty hotel room, you could get into a lot of trouble if you’re alone night after night,” Manilow said. “But I met Garry right when everything was exploding, and I didn’t have to go back to those empty hotel rooms. I had somebody to cry with or to celebrate with.”
Manilow and Kief, like any couple, have had their fair share of challenges over the years. Manilow told People in a 2017 interview that things got a bit complicated early on when Kief attended one of his concerts. The singer’s fame added tension to their relationship.
Afterward the singer said, “I got into the car with him, and [the fans] were rocking the car,” Manilow recalls. “He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. It’s not for me.’ I’m glad he stayed.”
Nearly four decades later, the couple is happier than ever.
“Thank goodness we’re still together,” Manilow says, “and we’re in good shape, too.”
Suggest hopes for Barry Manilow and Garry Kief to have many more happy years together.