In a recent interview with CNN, iconic singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has shared intimate details of his life, particularly focusing on his long-standing relationship with Garry Kief, his manager and now-husband. Manilow, who publicly came out as gay in 2017 and married Kief in 2014, reflected on the challenges of keeping his sexuality a secret during the peak of his career in the 1970s.
The Role of Privacy in a Public Life
Manilow emphasized how the societal norms of the 1970s, a time when public acceptance of homosexuality was far more limited, influenced his decision to keep his sexuality private. He believed that coming out during that era could have been detrimental to his career. Despite the challenges, Manilow described his relationship with Kief as a lifeline, providing him with emotional support and companionship amid the loneliness of fame.
A Lifesaving Bond
The singer credited his relationship with Kief for saving his life, especially during the demanding periods of his career. Manilow recounted the loneliness of returning to empty hotel rooms and the potential pitfalls of that solitude. His bond with Kief transformed these experiences, offering him a partner to share in both the struggles and triumphs of his life.
Coming Out: A Personal and Public Journey
Discussing his eventual decision to come out, Manilow admitted that he and Kief had always considered their relationship too personal to discuss publicly. He found speaking about his personal life uncomfortable, preferring to focus on his music. However, their public revelation was met with a nonchalant response, suggesting that many were already aware of their relationship.
Continuing Legacy and Influence
At 80, Barry Manilow’s legacy in the music industry remains strong. He continues to perform, with a long-running residency in Las Vegas scheduled until at least December 2024. His story not only highlights his personal journey as an artist but also reflects broader societal changes in attitudes towards sexuality and personal identity within the entertainment industry.