Hodder & Stoughton has said it "entirely respects" actor Sir Ian McKellen's decision not to go ahead with publishing his memoirs.
McKellen pulled out of the deal with Hodder, returning a "very handsome" £1m advance to the publisher, out of concern it would be too "painful" an experience for him, he told the Oxford Literary Festival.
McKellen's would-be editor, Rowena Webb, who is director for non-fiction at Hodder, told The Bookseller: "I would have loved to work with Sir Ian on his autobiography, but I entirely respect his decision not to go ahead."
According to the Daily Mail, McKellen said at the festival: "Have you ever tried to write a book? I put nine months aside to do it, and I got a very handsome advance. Then I sent the money back. It was a bit painful. I didn't want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn't understood so far. The privacy of my life I don't quite understand myself, and it has nothing to do with what I do for a living. So there you go, I'm sorry."
He added: "Frankly, if anybody wants to know anything about my public life, my working life, my career, it’s all catalogued in greater detail on my website than could ever be put into a book.”