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Although it seems that the rest of the world was aware of it, Barry Manilow has just officially come out and outed his partner of 39 years as well.
The news has been greeted with sarcasm by some on social media. Twitter user Depressed Darth posted "Barry Manilow came out as gay. In other news everyone already knew, I am Luke Skywalker's father."
Indeed, the topic of Barry Manilow's sexuality has been one of some speculation for some time, given he would never publicly admit his longtime relationship with manager - and now husband - Gary Kief. Actress Anna Kendrick perhaps put it best when she noted that it was better to acknowledge the bravery that #BarryManilow was showing by coming out.
"Lot of people seem really proud of themselves for announcing they "already knew" Barry Manilow was gay," she tweeted. "Yeah……ur the true heroes today guys."
Manilow's coming out was decades in the making. He was considered a sex symbol during the growth of his career in the 1970s and 1980s, and there were countless women who were smitten with Manilow, and doubtless continue to be. However, Manilow knew an admission of his sexuality could be death to his career back then.
"I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay," he admitted.
The very private star didn't want to let his fans down, and he wanted to guard his burgeoning relationship with Kief from the blinding spotlight of the media. So, he and Kief kept their relationship under wraps, and while Kief wasn't that comfortable with Manilow's incredible fame, he stayed, and the couple made their relationship work. Manilow even lived with production assistant Linda Allen for a time, and the two had been rumored to be involved.
It was when it was revealed that Manilow and Kief had, in fact, gotten married in California in 2014 that word began to spread that Manilow was gay. Manilow expressed relief that the fans were just as welcoming as they'd ever been to both his music and to him.
"When (fans) found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy," Manilow said. "The reaction was so beautiful -- strangers commenting, 'Great for you!' I'm just so grateful for it."
Certainly, Manilow's coming out is in keeping with the growing trend of seniors coming out later in life; at 73, Manilow is most definitely a senior citizen, though a good many of his fans are middle-aged or younger. To be sure, Manilow's star power does not appear to have diminished with the news of his outing.
The singer has a new album out. This Is My Town: Songs Of New York is due to hit store shelves April 21, though the title track is currently making the round as a digital download and on various charts. Manilow said that it was because New York had given him so much that he wanted to do something to acknowledge that.
“I’m a New York City boy; born and raised," he explained. "So when it came time to create a new album, I thought, 'How about celebrating New York?' How about saying thanks to the city for giving me my ambition, my sense of humor and my decency?"
The album is being hailed as one that Manilow was "born to make," and given the long string of albums to Manilow's credit, that is saying a great deal. While news of his coming out continues to be of interest to fans and pundits alike, his legion of fans, the Fanilows, are eagerly counting the days down to April 21, when This Is My Town: Songs Of New York drops.