Damian Lewis Says “Fruity” Comment Wasn’t Directed At Ian McKellen And Is “Hugely Embarrassed”

Actor Damian Lewis has apologized to Sir Ian McKellen for the comments he made to the UK Guardian back in October.

“I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen,” Lewis said in a statement released Thursday morning. “I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.”

In the interview, the Homeland hottie said he always dreaded becoming “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

Many interpreted this as a not-so-subtle jab at Sir Ian McKellen, who earned an Academy Award nod in 2001 for playing the wizard Gandalf in the billion-dollar Lord of the Rings film franchise.

“He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor,” Lewis said earlier today. “My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999. It was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career.”

The he added: “I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”

We’re pretty sure McKellen has better things to do than hold a grudge, so we’re glad these two have made up. And now we can go back to swooning over Lewis in all his ginger splendor.

Take a look at four more celebrities who have been caught making gay gaffes.

Black Shelton

The country crooner drew criticism in 2011 when he tweeted: “Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy…” Many people felt the comment was derisive of gay men. Shelton quickly apologized, tweeting: “Hey y’all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night…”

Britney Spears

The platinum blonde hit-maker has been raising eyebrows quite a bit lately with her innocently homophobic comments. (For the record: We don’t think Britney is a homophobe. But she may want to hire a better PR team to help coach her on speaking with journalists.) Earlier this year, she likened gay people to puppies when she called them “adorable and hilarious.” A few weeks later, she apologized if she offended any of her gay fans, then tried to compliment them by calling them “somewhat girls.” Bless her heart.

Ceelo Green

The Crazy singer made headlines in 2011 when he tweeted at a reporter who gave him a negative review: “I’m guessing ur gay? and my masculinity offended u?” When followers called him out for the remark, Green replied: “what was homophobic about that?” He later apologized, saying, “If I could take it all back, I would. I was not being serious. I just wanted to defend our performance.”

Katy Perry

The Roar singer was accused of being transphobic in 2009 when she tweeted a picture of a naked transgender person (a hairy body with breasts) along with the caption: “NSFW! I knew those little white last week of the birth control pills would still have an effect on your body! FU.” A number organizations, including GLAAD, called the singer out for it. Perry never issued a formal apology, although she has made it up to the LGBT community in other ways. In 2012, she was given a Trevor Hero Award from the Trevor Project for her work in empowering youth. During her acceptance speech she said: “My mantra has always been, ‘Be yourself enough and you can be anything,’ so I’m so proud to be honored by an organization that believes the same exact thing and I’m so active in reminding LGBTQ teens about it.”