The 73-year-old singer has not previously talked about his sexuality, even though it was reported that he married Kief in 2014.
“I thought I would be disappointing [the fans] if they knew I was gay, so I never did anything,” he told People.
READ MORE: Barry Manilow weds his longtime partner
His fans’ reaction was not at all what he expected. “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy,” he said. “The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, ‘Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”
Many people on social media were very supportive of Manilow’s announcement.
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) April 5, 2017
in his generation this was a reality, ESPECIALLY in showbiz. congrats to YOU @barrymanilow for living your truth now publicly
— michelle visage (@michellevisage) April 5, 2017
Happy Coming Out Day to Barry Manilow at 73, showing us it's never too late! Shouldn't be an issue, but we don't live in a perfect world 👬 🌈
— Kevin Maxwell (@kevin_maxwell) April 5, 2017
Someone's sexual orientation does not affect their musical ability nor does it change my years of adoration for them @barrymanilow 💜
— Linda (@Sherbertuk) April 5, 2017
Others were offended by some reactions towards the Copacabana singer’s news.
Saying "I always knew Barry Manilow was gay" is not the way to react to the bravery of someone coming out.
— Sean Kent (@seankent) April 5, 2017
Lot of people seem really proud of themselves for announcing they "already knew" Barry Manilow was gay. Yeah……ur the true heroes today guys.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) April 5, 2017
Manilow and Kief married in 2014 in a private ceremony at their Palm Springs home. It was so secret, news of the event didn’t surface for an entire year.
The pair had been together for three decades before they tied the knot. They met in 1978, and Kief became Manilow’s manager.
“This is my life, we’ve been together for all these years,” Manilow told Entertainment Tonight. “Everybody knows that we’re a team. Everybody that I know knows. So, it never really dawned on me to say anything about it. I mean, I’m a very private guy.”
“I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that… He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life — and a great guy, too,” Manilow told People of his husband.
Manilow had a brief marriage to Susan Deixler in 1964 and Kief has a daughter from a previous marriage.
“I was in love with Susan,” he said. “I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats — I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
This isn’t the first time a music artist has hid their sexual orientation from the world.
Singer Ricky Martin declared himself as a “fortunate homosexual man” in 2010 after years of public speculation that he’s gay.
He came out on his website, saying that the birth of his two sons and writing his memoirs led to his decision.
Manilow is currently promoting his upcoming album This Is My Town: Songs of New York.