Miriam Margolyes says she regrets coming out to her parents

"I think it upset my mother terribly. I think she suffered a stroke, possibly, as a result."


Words: Alastair James; pictures: ITV

Miriam Margolyes has said she regrets coming out to her parents - a very personal decision and unique journey for all LGBTQs - believing it may have caused her mother to have a stroke.

Appearing on ITV's Loose Women on Tuesday (26 October), the Harry Potter actress, 80, opined that coming out was an "indulgence" and that people shouldn't come out to some people for fear of hurting them.

Speaking candidly, the comedian said: "If you tell people who can't bear the information, you're hurting them and it's not kind."

"That's what I think"

The star then touched on the general consensus among the LGBTQ community - that it's better to be completely honest with yourself and others in your own time, if safe to do so - by citing the opinion of her friend, Sir Ian McKellen.

Continuing, she said: "[Sir] Ian McKellen, my dear friend, he totally disagrees with me, he thinks I'm quite wrong on that. But I don't care, that's what I think. Don't tell people who can't bear it."

Asked if she told her parents because she wanted to tell them, as opposed to her parents wanting to know, Miriam explained she had been brought up to tell her family everything. 

"I was somebody who was completely open with my family, with my mother and father. So, it was natural that I would tell them.

"But, now I wish I hadn't, I think it upset my mother terribly. I think she suffered a stroke, possibly, as a result."

She added that she can't be sure the two things were linked.

"I could have kept it to myself," she continued. "What harm would it have done? You can manage if you're grown up. You can manage. And I wish I hadn't done it."

The actress was promoting her new memoir This Much Is True, which goes over the star's life and her encounters with all sorts of people, including The Queen.

In an extract published by The Daily Mail, Miriam said she told her mum about being a lesbian when she was 27 and in love with Heather Sutherland - still her partner today. She explained that part of her parent's sorrow over her coming out was that they wouldn't get any grandchildren.

Asked to swear on the Torah she wouldn't have relations with a woman again, Miriam says she broke that, and that a few days after coming out, her mother had a stroke.

On how she felt afterward, Mirian wrote: "It was a horrendous time and I was very unhappy."

Further clarifying her position on coming out, she said: "It's better if people can truly be who they are meant to be - but my insistence on opening up hurt the ones I loved most in the world."

If you're facing personal struggles, you can call the Samaritans helpline, available round the clock on 116 123.

Watch the full Loose Women interview below: