Barry Manilow insists he's never deliberately hidden his sexuality.

The 73-year-old singer - who secretly tied the knot with his manager and long-term partner Garry Kief in 2014 - only recently confirmed his 40-year relationship but didn't realise people thought he was concealing the fact he's gay.

He said: ''I have been open about this forever to everybody and I have never hidden this and I couldn't be more proud to be a gay man or to have a partner of 40 years, it's never even dawned on me to hide it but People magazine, bless their hearts, needed a big headline but it really wasn't a secret in my family or amongst my friends, my band or people that know me.

''All the fans knew, it was never hidden, but perhaps the public at large might be surprised, although I don't think even they were very surprised. I'm 73 years old, I'm not married to a woman and I love Judy Garland so you do the math!''

But the 'Copacabana' singer doesn't think he would have experienced the wave of acceptance that he has done over the last few weeks if he'd come out in the 1980s.

Asked if he expected the outpouring of love, he told Forbes magazine: ''No, I didn't but I should have because the people have always been so great so I should never have doubted them. When I said that quote, what I really meant was that if I had done something like that in the 80s I don't know whether it would have been accepted as easily and beautifully as it has today because things have changed. Being gay is no big deal anymore, thank God, although I'm still it's a big deal to a lot of families and a lot of young people.''

The 'Mandy' hitmaker put off outing himself for so long because he was worried there would have been a ''negative explosion'', but he can't thank the fans enough.

He continued: ''Overall, I do think the tone of accepting gay people is more accepting than it's ever been. Gary and I have been together for going on 40 years, I could have done it any old time but I think it would have been a very negative explosion and I didn't want that for my fans because they stand up for me. Every bad review I've ever had, I just pull the cover over my head and feel sorry for myself but the next day the newspapers are filled with letters from people standing up for me. I adore them so much and I am so grateful and I didn't want to put that burden on them. ''