Sir Ian McKellen: My work got better after I came out as gay

·2-min read

Sir Ian McKellen has said his work improved after he came out as gay.

The actor, 81, told ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show he was no longer “hiding” after coming out.

Sir Ian revealed his sexuality on BBC radio in 1988.

Graham Norton Show – London
Sir Ian McKellen is appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Discussing the period after he came out, Sir Ian said: “I [have] never stopped talking about it since. Made up for lost time.

“It changes your life utterly. I discovered myself.

“And everything was better. My relationships with my family, with friends, with strangers, and my work got better as I wasn’t hiding anymore.

“Up to that point, my acting had really been about disguise and then, when I could feel I was myself, it came about telling the truth, which was much more interesting.”

Sir Ian said his “dilemma” about coming out when he was younger was that if he was openly gay he “could have risked being prosecuted”.

“That’s not true any more,” he added.

“We have very good laws in this country.”

The Good Liar Photocall – London
Sir Ian McKellen said his work had improved after he was honest about his sexuality (Ian West/PA)

Sir Ian also told the programme why he has not written an autobiography.

“I put aside six or nine months to write it – it was for an awful lot of money which was basically the attraction,” he said.

However, Sir Ian said there was “a list of the chat shows, including this one, that I would be expected to appear on, all over the world, right across the States, South America, Australia”.

“That would take a year of my life, longer than to write the book,” he said.

“I said I don’t have enough time. So I gave them the money back.”

He added: “I wanted to start with my parents, why did they decide to have me, just before the Second World War, they must have discussed this and thought about this.

“It’s too late to ask them and I can’t quite imagine.

“I got rather teary thinking about them as young people and wishing I’d known more about them. That was another reason why I rather went off the idea.”

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday on ITV.