Barry Manilow has opened up to PEOPLE for the first time ever about his decision to come out as gay after decades in the business.

In the newest issue of the magazine, the 73-year-old music legend opened up to the outlet at his Palm Springs residence about keeping his sexuality on the down low all these years. "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," Manilow admitted of his marriage with manager husband Garry Kief. "The reaction was so beautiful — strangers commenting, 'Great for you!' I'm just so grateful for it."

Even as a teenager, Manilow struggled with his romantic life, marrying his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler shortly after graduating high school. "I just was not ready for marriage," he said of his union with Deixler, whom he admitted he was in love with. "I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats — I was too young. I wasn't ready to settle down." 

Click here to read more about Barry Manilow's feature with PEOPLE magazine. 

My story is out. Thanks to my fans for supporting me through the years. Check out the full story on @People.

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