Unbeknownst to most of the world, singer Barry Manilow had been harboring a secret for years. The singer-songwriter had long-repressed his sexuality for decades out of fear of upsetting or isolating his fans. No secret can stay hidden for long though, and in 2015 Manilow’s secret became public. In 2014, Manilow married his longtime partner and manager Garry Kief in a private ceremony. Now, Manilow, age 73, is finally talking about why he waited so long to come out as gay and his Secret Marriage to Kief in a new interview for People Magazine that will hit newsstands Friday.

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Manilow told People, "I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.”

A chance encounter

Before meeting Kief, a TV producer, in 1978, Manilow’s primary focus was on his career.

He saw some early trajectory from his role in aiding a young Bette Midler in producing her first two albums, which helped throttle her career and his as well. Then, Manilow also added several hit songs to his catalog, including “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Copacabana (At The Copa).” Manilow’s career After meeting his would-be husband, Manilow said something immediately changed and he didn’t feel so alone anymore. Kief would go on to become his manager, a title he retains to this day, and became President of Barry Manilow Productions.

Manilow said,"I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that." The couple has been together ever since then, maintaining a supportive and very private relationship for nearly 40 years.

A surprising response

In 2015 news of Manilow’s sexuality and marriage to Kief became public and the pop icon was unsure of how fans would respond to the news.

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Surprisingly, Manilow claims he’s received overwhelming support from his fans and many others.

He told People, “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.”