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Sir Ian McKellen had signed on to write a memoir, but he realized that it was too difficult to relive earlier moments in his life, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

While this might be a bit of a downer for those looking forward to reading about McKellen’s formative years, his explanation does give us some insight into the esteemed actor and his integrity.

He had already been awarded a healthy advance, $1.4 million dollars to be exact, but rather than moving forward with a project he didn’t feel comfortable with, he returned the sum.

McKellen was at the Oxford Literary Festival on April 3, where he talked about the book deal, saying, “I put nine months aside to do it, and I got a very handsome advance. Then I sent the money back.”

He explained the struggles he had when sitting down to work on the manuscript, 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.”

McKellen doesn’t go into detail about the events he grappled over, but at the end of the day, it’s his story to tell. Or not tell.

While we won’t get to read about his life, in his own words, leading up to his greatness we know now, we appreciate him for all of his work and time he does share with us.

People change their minds. Can you blame him? 

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By Brigid Brown