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Ian McKellen: I regret not coming out much earlier

Joseph McCormick June 3, 2015

Sir Ian McKellen has said he wishes he had “seen the significance” of coming out as gay much earlier.

The veteran actor spoke to the Huffington Post about his decision not to come out until later in his career, saying once he did he was much happier and “freer”.

The 76-year-old came out as gay in 1988, when campaigning against the now defunct Section 28.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, he said: “I think up to that point, I had been using acting as a disguise—somewhere where I could express my emotions, and draw attention to myself in a way that I didn’t particularly want to do in real life.

“Acting became not about disguise, but about telling the truth. And my emotions became much freer. I was able to act better as I think you are able to do any job. Everyone’s better if they’re being honest.”

Going on, he spoke of regret for not having come out earlier in his career.

“I regret and always shall that I didn’t see the significance of coming out at a much earlier date because I think I would have been a different person and a happier one,” the actor continued.

“Self-confidence is the most important thing that anybody can have. You don’t have that if part of you is ashamed or hiding something. I can reassure people who don’t feel they’re able to, the world will like you better because people like honesty and authenticity.”

Last week, Sir Ian spoke about having a crush on his co-star and long time friend when they were at university in Cambridge together.

He said: “Yes, I did fancy Derek, but I didn’t act on it, God, no. It was illegal, remember.”

More: comes out, coming out, ian mckellen, Sir Ian

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