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Barry Manilow Addresses Homophobia

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Friday (1.05,) Barry Manilow addressed the difficulty involved with hiding his sexuality throughout his career and reflected on the struggles of staying closeted for most of his life because he “didn’t want my career to go away.”

Concerning his LGBTQ identity, the legendary singer/songwriter said “I love it. I’m grateful for it. But it was a burden to keep it quiet.” Adding that coming out was never an option, Manilow said “I was always worried.” “Every interview: ‘They’re going to ask me whether I’m gay or not.’ Nobody ever did, by the way. They never asked me the $64 question.” 

Barry also reflected on a chat he had with record executive Clive Davis in the 1980s where he spoke about how Elton John came out as bisexual and that if Manilow did, “It’ll hurt your career.” “And it did hurt Elton for quite a while.”

THR followed up with Davis, who said he didn’t recall that conversation and that “we never went there.” “Had it come up, to analyze what the impact would be, I would have said it’s a risky proposition to a career.” “But we never had the conversation about whether he should come out because he never said to me that he was gay.” Davis, it should be noted, came out as bi-sexual in his 2013 memoir.

Manilow also recalled performing at a gay bathhouse early in his career, and when asked if the experience impacted his own sexual development, the Grammy Award-winning musician replied “What do you think, they were fucking in front of us?” “They were just an audience. A great audience, too.” “It’s unusual, I agree. But for me, it was a job for 75 bucks.”

In a 2017 interview with People Barry officially came out as gay and, for the very first time, opened up about his love story with his now husband Garry Kief, with whom he started dating in 1978. And about becoming a grandfather, in 2023 he stated

“I thought I would be disappointing them 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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Author: Saul Goode

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