Renowned singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has opened up about the reasons behind his decision to keep his sexuality private for many years. Speaking in an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace, Manilow revealed that during the 1970s, the public was not ready for anyone to come out as gay, and he feared that being open about his sexuality would have had a detrimental impact on his career. However, he acknowledged that times have changed, and being gay is no longer a big deal. Manilow publicly came out as gay in 2017 and shared that he has been in a relationship with his manager, Garry Kief, for 39 years. The couple married privately in 2014.
Manilow admitted that he had never really felt pressured to hide his true self and described his decision to come out as a “non-event.” He believed that everyone already knew about his relationship with Kief. The response from his fans to his announcement was overwhelmingly positive, and he described it as a beautiful experience. Manilow attributed this to the fact that his fans and the public genuinely care about his happiness, something he has always known.
Throughout his career, Manilow has achieved tremendous success as a singer and songwriter. With hits like “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Copacabana,” he is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Despite being in his eighth decade, Manilow shows no signs of slowing down. He is currently working on a new Broadway musical and a Christmas TV special. Additionally, he has been performing a Las Vegas residency for an impressive 14 years and has concert dates scheduled until December 2024.
Reflecting on the early years of his career in the 1970s, Manilow credited his partner, Garry Kief, with saving his life. The loneliness of returning to empty hotel rooms night after night was a challenge, but meeting Kief during that time brought joy and companionship into his life.
Before his relationship with Kief, Manilow was married to his childhood sweetheart, Susan Deixler, in 1964. However, the marriage only lasted a year and was ultimately annulled in 1966. Manilow revealed that the marriage ended due to a lack of commitment, rather than his sexuality. He expressed love for his wife but acknowledged that he couldn’t fulfill his role as a husband while pursuing his music career.
In addition to discussing his personal life, Manilow also spoke about his career and revealed that his background in writing jingles had been beneficial to his success in the music industry. The challenge of capturing people’s attention in a short amount of time, as required for commercials, also applied to creating memorable pop songs. He also shared that the concept for his hit song “Copacabana” came to him while recovering at the Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro in 1970. While fame has had its challenges and took a toll on his mental health, Manilow emphasized that he wouldn’t go as far as calling it a nervous breakdown, but it was definitely a struggle.
Barry Manilow’s candid discussion about his decision to keep his sexuality private for many years highlighted the changing attitudes towards homosexuality and the support he received when he eventually came out. His successful music career and enduring relationship with his partner, Garry Kief, were also emphasized, along with his reflections on his past marriage and the challenges that come with fame.