EXCLUSIVE: Barry Manilow breaks his silence on marrying Garry Kief for first time on camera: 'I'm proud of it'

Barry Manilow is opening up about his husband, Garry Kief, for the first time ever on camera.

During an exclusive sit-down interview with ET, the 73-year-old music legend reflects on marrying his manager and longtime partner, and how the two kept their relationship from the public for nearly 40 years.

"I have not read one negative response," Manilow tells ET's Cameron Mathison of the reaction he's received from fans ever since news broke in 2015 that he had secretly tied the knot with Kief. "These strangers out there, and I've always known it, they care about me."

"I don't know, maybe they care about everybody, but for me, it is so moving, it is so deep that these strangers were so happy that I was happy," he continues. "That I wasn't alone, that I had somebody that was with me that I loved and that we'd been together for 37 years. We're in great shape, and I was very grateful for that response."

See photos of Barry Manilow through the years:

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Barry Manilow through the years
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Barry Manilow through the years
American singer Barry Manilow performs on stage at Wembley Arena in London, England on November 19, 1984. (Photo by D. Morrison/Express/Getty Images)
Portrait of musician Barry Manilow, seated next to a small cannon, circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Barry Manilow (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Barry Manilow (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Barry Manilow (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Barry Manilow (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Barry Manilow and his dog Bagel during Barry Manilow and dog Bagel at his New York Apartment at New York City in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Barry Manilow (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Barry Manilow during Barry Manilow in Concert at the Arista Festival City Center - September 21, 1975 at Barry Manilow performs at Arista Festival City Center September in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Barry Manilow in a recording studio, New York, circa 1978. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
1978 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Broadcast Coverage - Airdate: January 16, 1978. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) BARRY MANILOW
Barry Manilow and Clive Davis (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - 1983: Singer Barry Manilow poses for a portrait in 1983 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Barry Manilow in concert at Blenhiem Palace. 28th August 1983. (Photo by Andy Hosie/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Barry Manilow (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Barry Manilow during Barry Manilow in Concert - February 5, 2002 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
Barry Manilow during his opening night performance at Radio City Music Hall (Photo by L. Busacca/WireImage)
Barry Manilow during Barry Manilow and Jennifer Hudson Perform Live 'On-Air With Ryan Seacrest' at Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by J. Shearer/WireImage)
PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 12: Barry Manilow performs at America West Arena November 12, 2004 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)
Barry Manilow and Diane Sawyer during Barry Manilow Preview Opening of Music and Passion Featuring Diane Sawyer's Girls Night Out at The Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Barry Manilow and guest during 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Red Carpet at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
Barry Manilow and guest during 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Governors Ball at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
Clive Davis, Barry Manilow, and Suzanne Somers during Barry Manilow Backstage After His Performance at Madison Square Garden - January 18th, 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage for J Records)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Actress Lorna Luft and musician Barry Manilow arrive at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party held at the Beverly Hilton on February 10, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Barry Manilow during Barry Manilow Receives the Ambassador of Hope Award from City of Hope at The Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Jennifer Hudson and Barry Manilow performs at the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Singer Barry Manilow arrives at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on February 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Singer Barry Manilow performs onstage at 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Barbra Streisand at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Actress Lorna Luft, Singer Barry Manilow, TV personality Julie Chen, and President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves attend 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Barbra Streisand at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Musician Barry Manilow performs onstage at 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Barbra Streisand at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JULY 27: Barry Manilow performs at The Louisville Palace Theatre on July 27, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - SEPTEMBER 02: Barry Manilow and Lorna Luft attend The Cinema Society, The Hollywood Reporter And Samsung Galaxy S III Special Screening Of 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' on September 2, 2012 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Singer Barry Manilow walks in Midtown Manhattan on September 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Barry Manilow, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Barry Manilow with Sharon Hendrix & Kyle Brackett performing during the Opening Night Curtain Call for 'Manilow on Broadway' at The St. James Theatre in New York City on 1/29/2013 (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Barry Manilow visits 'Extra' at Universal Studios Hollywood on February 24, 2014 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12: Barry Manilow attends the Musical 'Harmony' on opening night at the Ahmanson Theatre on March 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Barry Manilow visits Aaron Lazar and the cast of 'The Last Ship' at The Neil Simon Theatre on December 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 14: Barry Manilow performs on stage during the One Last Time Tour at United Center on February 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 05: Barry Manilow performs during his One Last Time. at BB&T Center on February 5, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)
Singer Barry Manilow arrives for the Clive Davis & The Recording Academy's 2016 Pre-Grammy Gala in Beverly Hills, California, February 14, 2016. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 14: (L-R) Barry Manilow, Carly Simon and host Clive Davis arrive at the 2016 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Irving Azoff held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
(EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Singer Barry Manilow performs at First Direct Arena Leeds on June 11, 2016 in Leeds, England.
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RELATED: Barry Manilow Secretly Marries Manager Garry Kief

He reveals, however, that he never had plans to make his marriage to Kief public.

"This is my life, we've been together for all these years," explains Manilow, who was previously married to Susan Deixler from 1964 to 1965. "Everybody knows that we're a team. Everybody that I know knows. So it never really dawned on me to say anything about it. I mean, I'm a very private guy."

"I don't even like people knowing the names of my dogs, so for the public to get that close was really very... it was strange that we were even talking about it," he adds. "But I don't mind at all. I'm proud of it, I am. I'm proud of it."

Back in April 2015, Manilow's close pal, Suzanne Somers, confirmed that he had secretly wed Kief when she was a guest onWatch What Happens Live. "They're married and really happy, and I was there when it was announced," she said at the time. "I think it's freeing for him. He's extremely private, extremely. He's an awesome person, they're both awesome people, they're my dearest friends."

Following that interview, Manilow received "unanimous" positive support from all his fans, which he found quite surprising.

"It was just an amazing, beautiful, beautiful thing," he says.

WATCH: Barry Manilow Gives Surprise Performance at Pre-GRAMMYs Party

Also amazing is the fact that he and his partner's relationship has remained strong for nearly four decades, a rare achievement for Hollywood couples, and something even Manilow admits probably shouldn't have worked out.

"And we're business partners," he adds. "This shouldn't work, but it did, and I couldn't be more grateful."

So, what's the secret to a long-lasting relationship in Hollywood? Manilow jokes it all comes down to using "separate bathrooms."

"It's all about respect," he says.

Manilow's new album, This Is My Town: Songs of New York, is due out April 21. The album, which the crooner has been working on for over a year, includes 10 new studio recordings -- featuring several of Manilow's original musical compositions -- and classic standards, all inspired by the Empire State.

After the release of his new album, the New York native will then be hitting the road for a limited series of concerts, beginning with a show in Durant, Oklahoma, in May, in support of the album (check out the full list of dates and cities HERE).

And while it's easy to think life on the road may be full of fun adventures and wild stories, Manilow tells ET that after spending years touring, "glamour is the last word" he'd ever use to describe it.

"It's always work. It's a full-time job for me, and I love it, but I'm not home," he explains. "And sometimes those tours, in the beginning, [they] lasted months at a time. Now we've scaled back, we have scaled back and we don't go out for that long."

"I'll be making music until I croak," he jokes.

WATCH: Suzanne Somers Confirms Barry Manilow's Marriage

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