Ian McKellen Explains Why He Returned $1.4M Memoir Advance

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6:13 AM PDT 4/4/2016 by Alex Ritman

“It was a bit painful — I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far.”

The world isn’t going to get to read Sir Ian McKellen’s autobiography.

Last year it emerged that the celebrated and Oscar-nominated thespian would be penning his own memoir in a deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton reported to be worth £1 million ($1.4 million). But earlier this month the 76-year-old stage and screen icon revealed that he’d pulled the plug on the contract.

Speaking Sunday at the Oxford Literary Festival, the Lord of the Rings star and gay rights activist explained the decision.

“I put nine months aside to do it, and I got a very handsome advance. Then I sent the money back,” he said.

“It was a bit painful. I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far,” McKellen continued. “The privacy of my life I don’t quite understand myself, and it has nothing to do with what I do for a living. So there you go, I’m sorry.”

McKellen first came out publicly in 1988, at the age of 49, and last year he admitted that he regretted not coming out earlier.

He said, “I think I would have been a different person and a happier one.” 

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