When Barry Manilow kicked off his music career in the 1960s, the entertainment industry was a very different place. For mainstream performers, coming out publicly was not an option and largely considered career聽suicide. It wasn鈥檛 until the 鈥90s that groundbreakers Melissa Etheridge and Ellen DeGeneres helped open聽the door to LGBTQ acceptance within the entertainment industry, and beyond it.

Cut to 2017, and Barry Manilow鈥檚 interview with聽People. At 73, the singer spoke publicly for the first time about his sexual orientation and why he waited as long as he did to tell his fans. 鈥淚 thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,鈥 Manilow said.

The singer met his partner Garry Kief, who has also聽served as Barry鈥檚 manager for years, back in 1978, and they鈥檝e been together ever since. Before meeting Kief, Manilow described himself as 鈥減retty lonely.鈥 But when the pair met, all that changed. 鈥淚 knew that this was it,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 was one of the lucky ones.鈥

The couple made it official in 2014 during a private wedding ceremony at their Palm Springs estate.鈥淚t was deeper than we thought it was going to be, looking at each other, saying, 鈥業 love you鈥 in front of people,鈥 Manilow recalled.

After news of his relationship was met with cheers, Manilow鈥檚 fears of losing fans faded. 鈥淲hen they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy.鈥 Barry told聽People. 鈥淭he reaction was so beautiful 鈥 strangers commenting, 鈥楪reat for you!鈥 I鈥檓 just so grateful for it.鈥

Today, after Manilow鈥檚 interview went viral, he tweeted his appreciation for all the support he鈥檚 received:

We love you too, Barry!

What鈥檚 your take on Barry鈥檚 news? Let us know @BritandCo!

(h/t E! News; Photo via Ethan Miller/Getty)