TIME

For Sir Ian McKellen, coming out not only made him happier—it also made him a better actor.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the actor discussed the experience of coming out to both his family (“nobody gave a damn!”) as well as the media, saying his emotions became much “freer.”

“I think up to that point, I had been using acting as a disguise—somewhere where I could express my emotions, and draw attention to myself in a way that I didn’t particularly want to do in real life,” McKellen told the Huffington Post. “Acting became not about disguise, but about telling the truth. And my emotions became much freer. I was able to act better as I think you are able to do any job. Everyone’s better if they’re being honest.”

According to the actor, his film career took off after he came out, citing his role in

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