I came across Barry Manilow first when I was 14. I was watching ‘Friends’ and the background music that played while Ross had one last walk with his pet monkey really got to me. I listened to the lyrics carefully, searched it up and since then Barry Manilow and I have come a long way.
His marriage to his longtime manager Garry Kief was his non-verbal declaration to the world of his homosexuality, but it was kept well hushed up and private. Barry, however, decided to officially come out of the closet at the age of 73 and announced that he is gay in an interview to People magazine. As a man who had kept it hidden and away from public scrutiny for so many years, he deserves our appreciation now more than ever.
Barry had always been afraid of hurting his fans, which is the reason he never disclosed the secret. According to him,
“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.”
He had not anticipated a positive reaction and it came as a pleasant surprise to him.
“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.”
Manilow got married to Kief in 2014 at Palm Springs, California but their relationship has passed the test of a time much longer than that. In fact Manilow talks of his first meeting with Garry, a TV executive then and it will make you smile.
“I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
They did have some problems with Manilow’s popularity creating a barrier between them which they ultimately overcame. Garry stayed and the two built a beautiful relationship which culminated in matrimony. Kief also became Manilow’s manager. Manilow only has words for his partner and gushes about him:
“He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life, and a great guy, too.”
There is so much romance and love still left in the world, that gives one hope for a better future.
Manilow also opened up about his first wife, Susan. The marriage was short, but the reason for it not working out was not his sexual orientation. Instead, according to him:
“I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats, I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
Social media exploded, congratulating Barry. The ‘Fanilows’, as his fans call themselves, showered him with love and helped him get rid of all apprehensions. The question, ‘What took him so long?’ can arise and has arose. But one has to take into account that though LGBT acceptance has spread now, it is still an act of courage- an act of a man conquering his fear and celebrating love.
Good luck to you Barry Manilow and I am sure I am speaking on behalf of thousands of people when I say that may you have a long and wonderful life with each other!