Barry Manilow thought his fans would be disappointed to learn he is gay.

The 73-year-old singer admits it was both a "blessing and a curse" when it emerged in 2015 that he had secretly tied the knot with his manager and long-term partner Garry Kief in 2014, but he was delighted to receive so many messages of support.

He said: "I thought I would be disappointing [my fans] if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.

"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."

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The Mandy singer met Garry in 1978 and knew right away he was the right person for him.

He recalled in an interview with People magazine: "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,"

However, Garry initially found the attention his partner received quite overwhelming to deal with.

Recalling the aftermath of one of his concerts early in their relationship, Barry said: "I got into the car with him, and [the fans] were rocking the car.

"He was like, 'I can't handle this. It's not for me.' I'm glad he stayed."

The Copacabana singer tied the knot with childhood sweetheart Susan Deixler after he graduated high school, but he insists it was simply that he wasn't ready to settle down, not his sexuality, that led to the end of their union after just a year.

He said: "I was in love with Susan. I just was not ready for marriage.

"I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats. I was too young. I wasn't ready to settle down."

- Bang! Showbiz