Barry Manilow on reason he didn’t come out publicly as gay until his 70s

Barry Manilow: 'Coming out would have killed my career'

Legendary singer Barry Manilow has explained why he didn’t publicly come out as gay until his 70s, claiming being out when he was younger would have “killed a career”. 

Manilow, famous for hits like “Mandy”, “Copacabana” and “Looks Like We Made It”, married his manager Garry Kief in 2014, after being together for 40 years. 

The 80-year-old entertainer, who has won Grammys, an Emmy and a Special Tony Award, then came out as gay in a 2017 interview with People magazine, telling the outlet that the public’s reaction to rumours about his sexuality was “so beautiful”. 

“Now being gay is no big deal,” Manilow told CNN’s Chris Wallace on Friday (10 November). “Back in the ‘70s it would have killed a career.”

He added that despite this he “never” felt pressured to hide who he was, explaining “I think everybody knew that Garry and I were a couple all those years”. 

Manilow also reflected on his marriage to Susan Diexler in 1964, explaining that while he was “very happy” being married to her and he “really did love her”, he “couldn’t deny” his sexuality. The pair annulled their marriage in 1966. 

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Barry Manilow explained that another factor in his decision not to come out publicly was because he is a private person, and was “happy talking about music”.

“Frankly, it was just too personal. I just didn’t want to talk about my personal life anyway… I was happy talking about music. But talking about my personal life was just kind of creepy to me. So I never did,” he said.

Speaking about his husband, Manilow explained: “Garry actually kind of saved my life because as my career exploded, it was crazy. Going back to an empty hotel room you can get into a lot of trouble if you are all alone night after night.

“I met Garry right around when it was exploding and I didn’t have to go back to those empty hotel rooms and I had someone to cry with and celebrate with.”

In a 2017 interview with Sharon Osbourne about his decision to come out, Barry Manilow remarked to the cheering crowd: “Times have changed, to get a reaction like that!” 

He added: “My fans and the people who love me want me to be happy.”

Singer Barry Manilow holds microphone on stage
Barry Manilow wed his husband in 2014 – three years before coming out publicly. (Getty)