Posted with permission from Newsweek

Barry Manilow has publicly confirmed for the first time that he is gay and married.

The legendary singer, 73, appears on the cover of People this week, speaking about his 39-year romance with manager husband Garry Kief.

The pair married in a secret ceremony at their estate in Palm Springs, California, in April 2014. Tabloid reports about the wedding circulated the following year, but Manilow maintained his silence on the matter.

Now, he tells People, that the global headlines were both “a blessing and a curse.”

Manilow, whose hits include “Mandy” and “Copacabana,” said he worried how his fans would react to his private life.

“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” he said. “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 met Kief, a former television executive, in 1978 and “knew that this was it.”

“I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that,” he told People.

The singer briefly wed his high school sweetheart, Susan Deixler, in 1964. They separated after one year.