Sir Ian McKellen (Pic: Stefan Servos)

Celebrated Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen has told a New York newspaper that he is convinced that William Shakespeare was gay.

Speaking to the New York Post, the openly gay McKellen (72) said that there is “no doubt Shakespeare was gay. His predilection was evident from his works”.

The multiple Tony, Academy and Emmy award nominee, also lauded for his Shakespearean roles, explained that “an unmistakably feminine portrait of his patron Henry Wriothesley adds evidence that early sonnets to ‘fair youth’ were probably meant for males”.

McKellen went on to say: “Married, with children, [Shakespeare] left his wife in Stratford to live in London. I’d say he slept with men. The Merchant of Venice, centering on how the world treats gays as well as Jews, has a love triangle between an older man, younger man and a woman.

“And complexity in his comedies with cross-dressing and disguises is immense. Shakespeare obviously enjoyed sex with men as well as women,” said McKellen.

The star, who came out in 1988 when he was 49, will next be seen in the highly anticipated The Hobbit film playing, once again, the character of Gandalf.

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