Barry Manilow said coming out earlier "would have killed my career."
The singer, now 75, came out in 2017 in an interview with People magazine after recording decades worth of hits, including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” and “I Made It Through the Rain.”
However, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, a U.K. tabloid, Manilow said this success would not have been possible if he had been open about his gay sexuality, which he said he was aware of from the onset.
“I went through many, many years when I couldn’t do that. It would have killed my career. Immediately,” Manilow said. “It was stupid then but it was true. Everybody knew it, we had to watch out for making a mistake. Not that everybody didn’t know, people are very smart."
“I thought I wasn’t hiding anything, but I was also not publicizing it. If I publicized it, especially in the ’70s and ’80s – no way," he added.
Manilow married his high school sweetheart, Susan Deixler, in 1964 but was divorced soon afterward. He wed Garry Kief, his partner since 1978 and also his longtime manager, in 2014.
When Manilow came out in 2017, he received “not one note” of negativity from fans, Manilow told the tabloid.
The Daily Mirror interview comes in advance of the performer’s Las Vegas show, titled Manilow, which begins May 23 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino and runs through October.