Actor-singer Joel Grey, who is best known for playing the Masters of Ceremonies in the stage and film versions of Cabaret, has come out gay.

“I don't like labels,” Grey, 82, told PEOPLE, “but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man.”

“All the people close to me have known for years who I am. [Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”

Grey said that he remembers hearing family members, including his mother, “talking derisively about 'fairies' and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being who they were” while growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.

Grey married actress Jo Wilder in 1958. Together they have 2 children. The marriage ended 24 years later, in 1982.

Daughter Jennifer Grey (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Dirty Dancing) told PEOPLE that she was “very happy” for her father.

“I feel very happy for my dad that he has come to a point in his life where he feels safe and comfortable enough to declare himself in a pubic way as a gay man,” she said. “Mostly because the more people are free to own their true nature and can hopefully come closer to love and accept themselves as they really are, no matter what age, no matter how long it takes, to finally be free of the lies or half truths, it is freedom.”

Grey, also a photographer, will release a photo book and a memoir later this year.