Ian McKellen says Alec Guinness was a self-loathing bisexual

Alex Guinness: Star Wars Jedi Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine - customized Hasbro action figure

We love Ian McKellen, but we’re not sure why he chose a fancy dinner to out Alec Guinness as a self-loathing bisexual. 

During a Pride gala dinner at the house of the Lord Mayor of London back in 2014, McKellen let some personal details about his colleagues slip. Including some tea about our beloved Obi-Wan Kenobi! 

Star Wars legend Alec Guinness told him that he “should not, as a leading actor, have anything to do with anything political, especially anything as dirty as homosexuality.”

Yikes. That’s pretty homophobic coming from a guy who spent his life in the closet, supposedly. Guinness was married to a woman named Merula Salaman. Still, the actor endured rumors his whole life about being bisexual.

It’s not like McKellen was revealing anything new, of course. Three separate memoirs detailed his same-sex encounters after Alec’s death. He was even arrested after shmoozing with another man in a Liverpool bathroom. (He gave the police the name “Herbert Pocket,” a character he played in Great Expectations.)

What other tea did Ian McKellen spill?


Sir Ian also revealed that he faced criticism from within the LGBTQ+ community for not being outspoken enough about gay issues. 

Some activists expected him to go all-in for the cause, ignoring all other causes important to the actor. But McKellen, always eloquent and thoughtful, had a witty reply: “I find the concept of heterosexuality far too intriguing to ignore,” he quipped in a chat with the openly gay director Derek Jarman.

Unfortunately, Sir Alec Guinness died away in 2000, ironically the same year as his beard, er, wife. So, his views on just about everything, including being queer, remain forever entwined with co-star Ian McKellen. 

Ah, the drama, the laughs, and the self-loathing of showbiz! Who knew being a legendary actor came with so many plot twists, even after you’re dead? 

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s secrets may be out of the bag, but if you’re hungry for more intriguing stories like this, don’t forget to subscribe to the Queerty newsletter – where the force of LGBTQ+ news is always with you!