Coming out as gay changed my life, says Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen came out in the 1980s credit:Bang Showbiz
Sir Ian McKellen came out in the 1980s credit:Bang Showbiz

Sir Ian McKellen's life changed "overnight" after he came out as gay.

The 84-year-old actor came out as gay in 1988 and he admits that it was a life-changing moment for him.

He told Variety: "Almost overnight everything in my life changed for the better - my relationships with people and my whole attitude toward acting changed."

Ian admits that coming out actually had a huge impact on his acting work.

The 'Lord of the Rings' star explained: "The kind of acting that I had been good at was all about disguise - adopting funny voices and odd walks.

"It was about lying to the world. I was no longer in the situation where I was running along beside the character explaining it to the audience. I just became the character."

Ian feels it's difficult for non-gay people to relate to his struggle.

The veteran actor said: "People who are not gay just simply don’t know how it damages you to be lying about what you are and ashamed of yourself.

"I was brought up at a time when it was illegal for me to have sex with a man. And that was not that long ago."

Ian's career has spanned more than six decades and although he's increasingly aware of his own mortality, he doesn't have any plans to retire anytime soon.

He said: "Retire to do what? I’ve never been out of work, but I’m aware that any minute now something could happen to me which could prevent me from ever working again.

"But while the knees hold up and the memory remains intact, why shouldn’t I carry on? I really feel I’m quite good at this acting thing now."