Were Will & Grace still on, they'd have done a fantastic episode on this. Suzanne Somers confirmed Thursday night, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, that Barry Manilow and his longtime manager and partner Garry Kief have been married for about a year.
Somers got to the topic after a caller asked her to confirm a report in the National Enquirer that said Manilow and Kief had gotten married last April and that Somers was Manilow's best man.
"They're married and really happy," Somers said. "I was there when it was announced and they've been together for 30 years."
According to the Enquirer's report Manilow and Kief were wed in a relatively small ceremony at their Palm Springs home. Guests thought they were just attending a lunch. Until Somers's interview, Manilow had not confirmed (nor denied) the report. In fact, he'd never really even come out publicly. Manilow was married very briefly once before, in the 1960s, to Susan Deixler.
"He's extremely private," Somers said 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."
It won't exactly come as a shock to most people that Barry Manilow is gay — after all, he got his start working with Bathhouse Bette Midler — but keep in mind that he grew up in a different time; Manilow was already in his 20s when the Stonewall riots, which marked the start of the modern gay rights movement, began. The Enquirer writes that Manilow was very paranoid his fans wouldn't approve of his being gay, so much so that he and Kief never filed the paperwork to make their marriage legal, for fear it would leak.
"I think it's freeing," Somers said of Manilow's marriage. "He's one of the most incredible people and a true musical genius and, I believe, the Irving Berlin of our generation."