Barry Manilow insists coming out would have ''killed'' his career.

The 75-year-old singer admits it is ''absolutely wonderful'' to be able to openly refer to Garry Kief - who he fell for in 1978 and married in 2014 - his ''husband'' after revealing he is gay two years ago.

He said: ''It's absolutely wonderful [to call him my husband]. I went through many, many years when I couldn't do that. It would have killed my career. Immediately.

''As soon as the word got out my career would have been over.

''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.''

But the 'Mandy' hitmaker insisted he ''wasn't hiding'' anything - he simply didn't draw attention to his sexuality.

He added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: ''I thought I wasn't hiding anything, but I was also not publicising it. If I publicised it, especially in the 70s and 80s - no way.

''When I started, I knew I was gay, I had a hit record and I was on the cover of Teen Beat magazine. Now what do I do? I guess it became OK a couple of years ago.''

Barry is pleased there has been ''not one note'' of negativity from his fans since he came out.

He said: ''I knew they would be OK with it. All they ever cared about was my happiness. I think they were thrilled I had someone in my life like Garry.''

The 'Copacabana' singer has overcome numerous health issues over the years, including bronchial pneumonia, a mouth tumour, heart problems and hip surgery and admitted he's amazed he can still put on a show.

He said: ''I'm fine, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm very old, I should not be able to do this.

''You saw me going up those stairs on stage - there's 14 steps up and 14 down, you would think I should be in a wheelchair or something.''