celebrity memoirs

Ian McKellen Won’t Buy Into the Memoir-Industrial Complex, Returns His $1.4M Advance

BAFTA LA Behind Closed Doors With Ian McKellen
Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

Celebrity memoirs are wonderful things: great gifts for people whose reading tastes you don’t know very well, good audiobooks to listen to at the gym, excellent for feeding our need for the revelation of decades-old gossip, and overall a decent way to attempt to fill the Bossypants-shaped hole in your heart. But one lone celebrity will not be spilling his secrets to the reading public: Ian McKellen. McKellen has pulled out of his memoir deal and returned his $1.4 million advance. He explained his decision at the Oxford Literary Festival, saying, “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 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.” You have to respect his decision. Writing a memoir can be emotionally exhausting. If you don’t want to open up the can of worms that is reflecting on every decision you have ever made in your life, then don’t. Take care of yourself. Writing can be a good way to process your past, but to each his own. We still love you, Ian. It’s not like we’ll run out of celebrity memoirs to read.

Ian McKellen Won’t Write His Memoir After All