McKellen, 77, is best known for playing Gandalf in the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films. His performances in Gods and Monsters and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring earned him Oscar nominations. He came out in 1988.

In an upcoming BBC episode of Who Do You Think You Are? McKellen explores his family tree.

“I don't feel anything about [fatherhood], really,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I think I've always known I wouldn't have children, because I'm gay. That wouldn't have been true today, would it?”

“I don't feel I've got a responsibility to produce another McKellen. … My contribution has been of another sort.”

“Bringing up children is the most dreadfully difficult thing to do, and so few people are good at it. I’m far too selfish. I mean, I know parenthood can change people’s personalities in a good way. But I find it difficult making decisions about my own life.”

“To have to make decisions about someone who’s dependent on you… I can see it would be very alluring to look into the eyes of a little boy or girl who looked like oneself. That must be extraordinary, and reassuring in some way. But I don’t look to my legacy, I suppose that’s what makes me different from a lot of people,” McKellen added.