Barry Manilow explains why he kept sexuality secret for decades

Barry Manilow has shed some light on his decision to hide his sexuality for decades.

The 80-year-old “Copacabana” singer came out as gay in 2017, revealing that he had married his manager Garry Kief in 2014 following a clandestine relationship spanning more than 35 years.

In a new interview, Manilow, whose real name is Barry Pincus, told the host of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace that Kief “saved my life” during his rise to fame in the 1970s.

“As my career exploded, it was just crazy. And, you know, going back to an empty hotel room, you can get into a lot of trouble if you, you know, you’re alone night after night after night,” the singer said.

“But I met Garry right around when it 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 continued: “I wish that young people, that they don’t have to go back to those hotel rooms by themselves because you get yourself in trouble. I never did. But it was pretty lonely until I met Garry. And then it was fun.”

Manilow was briefly married to Susan Deixler while he was studying at the New York College of Music – he said he was “in love” with her but was “not ready for marriage”.

Garry Kief (left) and Barry Manilow in 2016 (Getty Images)
Garry Kief (left) and Barry Manilow in 2016 (Getty Images)

“I think [coming out] was a non-event for me. Really, Garry and I’ve been together for so long it just never dawned on me it’s ever going to come out,” he told Wallace.

“In the Seventies, you know, you didn’t. It wasn’t the same as it is today. Now being gay is no big deal but back in the Seventies, it would have killed a career. The public was not ready for anybody to come out,” Manilow said.

He went on: “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. When we came out, I think everybody knew that Garry and I were a couple all those years.”

The pop icon told People magazine in 2017: “I’m so private. I always have been. I thought I would be disappointing them [fans] if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.”

He said he had been shocked by the reaction after fans discovered he was in a relationship with Kief.

“They were so happy. The reaction was beautiful – strangers commenting: ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”

Manilow is currently in the 14th year of a Las Vegas residency and has concert dates scheduled until December 2024.