Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has confirmed reports that he married manager Garry Kief in 2014.

Manilow spoke for the first time publicly about his sexuality in a PEOPLE cover story.

Manilow said that he met Kief in 1978, about a dozen years after his one-year marriage to his high school sweetheart Susan Deixler unraveled.

“I was in love with Susan,” Manilow told PEOPLE. “I just was not ready for marriage.”

Kief, a former TV executive, is also Manilow's manager.

“I knew that this was it,” Manilow said of meeting his future husband. “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.”

The National Enquirer, in 2015, was first to report on Manilow's marriage to Kief, quoting a source as saying that he left his wife to be with Manilow.

Manilow explained this week that he kept quiet about his sexuality because he feared disappointing his fans.

“I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” Manilow 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, 73, will release his 30th studio album, This is My Town: Songs of New York, on April 21.