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How Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen On-Screen Rivalry Lead to the Best Hollywood Bromance in Real Life

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have become legends on both the big screen and on stage. And today, they are one of the most well-known bromances in Hollywood. But it wasn’t always like that. They have become very close friends relatively recently, and here’s how it all came to life and grew stronger over the years.

They started as “enemies” a long time ago.

Since the very beginning, their careers have run in parallel — they’ve played the same parts. However, if one of them played Macbeth, it wasn’t hard to guess which part the other would take on. So, it turns out their on-stage “rivalry” began many years ago.

McKellen admits he wasn’t always that good to Stewart.

One time, they bumped into each other, and McKellen was one of the people who Stewart asked for advice on whether he should take up a long-term contract for Star Trek. At that time, McKellen said, “Absolutely not!” Later, he admitted it could hardly be the mark of a friend. But that was long before they became close. They lost touch with each other for 17 years after that conversation.

After that, they found out they were lucky not to have so many differences.

The actors first became close some 20 years ago. And ironically, they did it while playing adversaries in 2000’s X-Men. The movie was where they spent more time sitting inside a trailer rather than filming. And this is what helped them to get to know each other better.

They both had nothing to do, so they decided to hang out together, drinking tea and chatting about everything. It turns out they had quite a few things in common. The actors fell into each other’s arms because of their similarities. They liked the same things. McKellen reveals that the fact that Stewart is from Yorkshire and he’s from Lancashire is the most significant difference between them.

They both have been bestowed with knight titles.

Another unique thing they have in common is that both actors have been knighted. McKellen was bestowed with the title in 1991, 3 years after coming out as gay. And the latter fact was significant for him because he would’ve never accepted the knighthood if he hadn’t come out of the closet. “If you’re lying about that central part of your nature, can you be trusted?” he told the Daily Mail in 2018.

Stewart “joined the club” much later, in 2010. He always joked he didn’t know why they’d decided to give him the title. But he didn’t miss the opportunity to call his wife and say, “Oh, hello. Is Lady Stewart home?” since she subsequently had a title too.

McKellen was a minister at Stewart’s wedding.

McKellen even married Stewart and his wife. He performed their ceremony back in 2013. On Graham Norton’s show, he declared bluntly, “I’m going to marry Patrick,” which made the audience respond in an uproar of laughter.

One of the most incredible things about their relationship is their underlying respect for each other.

Though there may have been times when they didn’t like each other so much or were jealous, their respect outweighed all those things. And that is the key to any great relationship like this one. They genuinely respect each other’s skills and strengths and fully accept all their flaws and fallibilities. They both are mature men who know that competing, comparing, and criticizing are not for them.

Have you happened to find a friend like this in your life? Do you know any people like that? Please share your inspiring stories with us all in the comments below.

Bright Side/Curiosities/How Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen On-Screen Rivalry Lead to the Best Hollywood Bromance in Real Life
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