Ian McKellen found writing memoir so ‘painful’, he returned £1million advance

The legendary actor said delving into his past was an emotional struggle.

Ian McKellen has revealed that he found writing his memoirs so painful that he was forced to return the £1 million advance he was paid to write them.

Speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival, the actor revealed he planned to work on his book for nine months after striking a deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton.

However, he soon realised he would be unable to complete the difficult task.

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

“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 Times reports him saying.

“Frankly, if anybody wants to know anything about my public life, my working life, my career, it’s all catalogued in greater detail on my website than could ever be put into a book.”

McKellen added the he was uncomfortable with disclosing details from his private life in the book.

“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.”

He also spoke about his first love, who he met while acting in Oxford at the beginning of his career.

“It was actually in this town that I was acting with some undergraduates and I fell in love with one of them,” he revealed.

“So Oxford is a very special place for me. It was the first person I felt attached to in that way.”

The Lord Of The Rings star recently explained why it took him so long to speak publicly about his sexuality, saying it was “the right time” for him to join the fight for LGBT rights.

“Everything in society was against people of my generation coming out, because it was against the law to make love,” he explained.