Ian McKellen Reveals he Never Told His Parents He's Gay

by Brendan Walker

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday May 9, 2021
Originally published on May 7, 2021

Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen  (Source:AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

In a recent interview on "The Jonathan Ross Show," Ian McKellen revealed how he never had the chance to come out to his parents before they passed away, the Daily Mail reports.

McKellan, a world renowned actor stage and screen, has been openly gay since 1988, but lost his mother at age 12 and his father when he was 22, decades before he felt safe enough to reveal his sexuality.

When Ross asked about his relationship with his parents, McKellen spoke fondly of their memory, though how hiding his true self likely hindered that relationship.

"[I was] as close as you can be when your mother dies at 12 and dad dies when you're 22," McKellen said. "Never told them I was gay for example. Didn't see me do any of my best work. But I remember them with nothing but pleasure."

McKellen originally hails from Burnley, England, but spent the majority of his childhood years in Bolton in a religious household. As a result, he didn't come out until late into his 40s, something he spoke about in depth later in the interview, and how his relationships improved as he wasn't "hiding anymore".

"I never stopped talking about it since. Made up for lost time. It changes your life utterly... I discovered myself. And everything was better", McKellen said. "I never stopped talking about it since. Made up for lost time. It changes your life utterly... I discovered myself. And everything was better."

McKellan also said it opened up the dimensions of his performances, saying that "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."

When asked for advice about coming out, McKellen was simple and to the point.

"Oh come on, join the modern world, it's not the same. You won't get put in prison."

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