Barry Manilow has spoken about his sexuality for the first time, revealing he feared his fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay.

But the singer said he was moved by the beautiful reaction he got when news of his marriage to his manager Garry Kief broke in 2015.

The couple, who married in a secret ceremony in Palm Springs, California in 2014, have been together for almost 40 years.

But until now Manilow, 73, has been intensely private about his personal life.

He told People magazine: I’m so private. I always have been. I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.

Manilow, whose hits include Mandy and Copacabana, said the revelation was a blessing and a curse, but he had been moved by the outpouring of support from fans.

He said: 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.

Manilow married his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler in 1964, but they split two years later.

He said in the interview that he was not struggling with his sexuality while married to Susan.

Manilow told the magazine: I was out making music every night, sowing my wild oats – I was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.

In 1978 he met Kief, saying of the executive: I knew that this was it. I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.

He’s the smartest person I’ve ever met in my life – and a great guy, too.

Manilow said Kief struggled with their relationship at first after attending a concert and being overwhelmed by the attention the singer attracted.

He said: I got into the car with him, and (the fans) were rocking the car. He was like, ‘I can’t handle this. It’s not for me.’ I’m glad he stayed.

(c) Sky News 2017: Barry Manilow reveals he feared fans would be disappointed if they knew he was gay