YOU wouldn’t think Paul Burrell and Barry Manilow would have that much in common.
One’s a former Royal butler and occasional reality TV contestant, while the other’s a flamboyant showman who has sold 80 million records.
But recently they both separately took deep breaths and announced to the world that they were gay.
Perhaps they genuinely believed we would all be aghast with shock and outrage.
But here’s the thing, chaps – we all knew already.
And, refreshingly, no one really gives a monkeys.
Both of them decided the time was right to open up about their sexuality.
It wasn’t easy for Paul, who was Princess Diana’s closest confidante, to tell his two grown-up sons, while Barry found it really tough to share the news with his fans.
But they must now be hugely relieved.
They can finally be themselves, with no need to worry that their “secret” could be exposed.
You can’t live like that, and I feel sorry for anyone in the public eye who still feels unable to be open about who they fall in love with.
It was heartening that, despite their apprehension, both men have received overwhelming support.
The American megastar can finally step out in public with Garry Kief, the man who has been by his side for years, and proudly call him husband. True fans of the singer-songwriter are, of course, delighted for both of them.
As for Paul, I met him last week and he was still on cloud nine after his recent wedding to his “soulmate”, Graham Cooper.
After Paul spilt from his wife, Maria, the pair met by chance on a train 10 years ago and have been together ever since.
Until a few weeks ago, however, Graham would always walk a few steps behind his partner, in a very Prince Philip sort of fashion.
Now they can openly hold hands and be proud of their relationship. They can enjoy the rest of their lives together.
It speaks volumes that both of Paul’s sons were at the wedding and wished the happy couple well, while Maria has also given them her blessing.
Paul’s fears of rejection and ridicule over his sexuality were virtually groundless, but he has been bruised by criticism in the past after writing a book about Diana.
He’s a sensitive soul and was bracing himself for similar attacks, which simply didn’t rear their ugly heads.
I know Paul is a polarising figure and some people simply can’t bear him but, in his defence, he really was close to Diana, one of the few people she trusted towards the end of her life.
She described him as her “rock”.
You can’t really blame him for wanting to tell his story when so many people who barely knew her made money with ill-informed scribblings and witterings after her death 20 years ago.
Diana had real emotional intelligence and I’m sure she knew Paul was gay, but was probably waiting for him to tell her.
As Paul said himself, he chose Diana’s dresses and created the most incredible floral arrangements for her. Of course she’d have guessed – and it wouldn’t have bothered her one little bit.
Had she not been so senselessly killed in that car crash almost 20 years ago, Diana would have been at Paul’s wedding dancing to It’s Raining Men and belting out I Will Survive on the karaoke.
I hope many older gay men will now realise that they can finally come out and most people will not judge them.
We only have one life to live and it would be such a shame to exist in fear.
But I understand and sympathize with the older generation of gay men and women who remember a time when it was illegal to be homosexual.
That law was only abolished in the ’60s, but there are still members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who feel they simply cannot tell people who they really are.
I hope one day they will find the courage to do so.
Life really is too short.