To the residents of the tiny town of Point Reyes Station, located 42 miles northwest of San Francisco in Marin County, Susan Deixler is a familiar figure. The matronly but spry 72-year-old is the care manager for a local senior-services organization and has long been involved in community activism and social causes. But there’s another, long-ago chapter in Susan’s life, one that would astonish her neighbors should they be unaware of her past. Susan was the girlfriend of iconic singer/songwriter Barry Manilow when they attended Eastern District High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. — and she briefly became the wife of the now openly gay superstar 52 years ago!
“What happened between us, our relationship, is ancient history,” says Susan in an exclusive interview. “I have children, I have a life. All that was a long time ago.”
Barry, 73, recently went public about his sexuality for the first time, admitting he was gay and discussing his relationship with longtime manager, Garry Kief, 68, whom he wed in 2014. In passing, Barry also mentioned his romance with Susan, saying he was “in love” with her, but claiming their May 1965 marriage lasted less than a year because he “was too young. I wasn’t ready to settle down.”
However, a 2001 biography of the performer reported that Susan cited “fraud” when filing for an annulment in NYC — and claimed one of her relatives speculated that the marriage was annulled “for not being consummated.”
Susan denied her relative’s reported claim and has said little else about her marriage to Barry through the years. But she clearly took the high road in her recent interview when asked about Barry and Garry’s nuptials. “I wish him well; I’m happy for him,” she said. “I’m glad he’s found love and happiness.”
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