Barry Manilow is gay, and has married his longtime partner, his manager Garry Kief, Manilow’s good friend Suzanne Somers confirmed Thursday night.
The couple have been together for 30 years, “maybe 35,” said Somers. They met at the same time she met her husband, Alan Hamel, she added.
Somers was quoted to have been Manilow’s “best man” at the wedding ceremony, first reported in last week’s National Enquirer.
Until Somers’s interview, neither Manilow nor his representatives confirmed or denied the reports.
Somers was speaking in response to a caller’s question on Bravo's late-night chat show Watch What Happens Live.
“Dorothy” from Southern California asked if the report in the Enquirer last week—that Manilow and Kief had married in a ceremony at Manilow’s Palm Springs mansion, attended by 50 guests, last April—was true.
“Please be honest, was he a bridezilla?” the caller asked.
“They’re married and really happy, and I was there when it was announced and they’ve been together for 30 years,” Somers said.
“Wow,” said host Andy Cohen. “It’s wild. He never formally came out and said it. It’s something everybody knew. It’s wonderful he’s been with his partner for 30 years.”
“I think it’s freeing for him,” said Somers. “He’s one of the most incredible people and a true musical genius. I believe he is the Irving Berlin of our generation. The impact he has made on music is incalculable.”
“Barry has lived a very secretive life and the wedding was no different! Barry and Garry did not tell friends or family that the occasion was their wedding,” an “insider” told the Enquirer. “It was a beautiful wedding and consummated their lifelong love affair!”
However, “sources” told the Enquirer that Manilow remained nervous about how his fans would see him if they knew he was gay.
“The happy duo did not file the paperwork to formalize their union out of fear the big news would leak,” those sources said. “Barry is paranoid that his fans would not approve of him being gay, when in reality, many have suspected it for years—and most wouldn’t care. They would be happy for him!”
Cohen asked Somers if the wedding had been “freeing” for Manilow, who has never come out as gay.
“He’s extremely private, extremely,” said Somers of Manilow. “I think it was very difficult, and it’s very difficult for me to talk about, so I want to do it with complete respect and love. He’s an awesome person, they’re both awesome people, they’re my dearest friends.”