FOR YEARS, I NEVER SPOKE ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD—or my home life, or my education—because I was embarrassed by it. I wanted Patrick Stewart to be my own adult creation, not the product of my actual childhood. But the fact that I hid so much was doing more harm than good.
OUR HOME WAS CALLED A ONE-UP-ONE-DOWN, with a living room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs, where my brother and I slept together in a small double bed for five years. He was a wonderful boy and he was patient with me and kind. When he died 18 months ago, he was the one person who had known me for my entire life.
I WASN'T BORN IN A HOSPITAL or a maternity ward. I was born in that house.
IF I HAD STARTED THERAPY EARLIER, it would have benefited me sooner. Now I’m no longer afraid of talking about my childhood.
IN THE LITTLE TOWN WHERE I LIVED in West Yorkshire, there was a library, and it became the most important building in my life. I could go down there on a Saturday morning. And take two books home with me and devour them.
I BECAME ADDICTED TO AMERICAN LITERATURE. I also became quite interested in Russian literature, which led me to Dostoevsky. These were my escapist times.
THERE WAS NOWHERE TO READ IN MY HOUSE. In the living room downstairs, the radio was always on, and we were never allowed to go upstairs until it was time for bed. So when I needed to read, I would go to our outdoors toilet—our only toilet, with no electricity. I would take warm clothes and a wooly cap, and I would read books and keep my hands warm with a candle. That gave me a very unique experience of literature.
I RECENTLY FOUND A BOOK IN MY LOCAL BOOKSHOP here in Los Angeles, called Master Slave Husband Wife. It’s the story of an enslaved couple, and how they devise a means of escaping northwards to safety. It’s one of the most astonishing and dazzling stories. It has made a huge impact on me and I recommend it.
ONE DAY MY ENGLISH TEACHER, Cecil Dormand, put a paperback book on my desk that said The Merchant of Venice. I didn’t know what the heck it was. He said, “Patrick, you’re Shylock,” and to my horror, I saw that I had an immensely long speech.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS SAYING, but there was something about those sounds in my mouth that excited me.
AT 15 YEARS AND TWO DAYS, my education ended. It was all that the law required.
I FOUND MORE SAFETY ON THE STAGE than I had experienced elsewhere. And one of the reasons was that I wasn't being Patrick Stewart. If I was acting a role in a play, I was someone else.
LAUGHTER was a very important part of my life.
I BECAME THE FIRST-CHOICE COMIC FOOL in the Royal Shakespeare Company: I played Touchstone, I played Launce, I played Borachio and I discovered that hearing laughter is a much more pleasant experience than hearing sobbing in the audience.
MY ADVICE TO YOUNG ACTORS, which may sound corny and trivial but nevertheless means something very potent to me, is to be brave and trust others. If I had done that earlier in my life, maybe everything would have changed.
THE BEST THING ABOUT BECOMING A FATHER is that great sense of playing with young children, which became absorbed into my work.
THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A FATHER is that it’s more complex and challenging than people might expect.
I LOVED IAN MCKELLEN'S WORK BEFORE I KNEW HIM. We worked together at the Royal Shakespeare Company, but never in the same production, because I’ve been told there was no director who wanted both of us in the same production.
WHEN THE FIRST X-MEN FILM WAS SHOT IN CANADA, my trailer was next door to Ian’s. One of us invited the other in for a cup of tea, because we’re both English, or if we were working late, maybe even a glass of wine. I liked him more and more with every encounter and I loved working with him.
THERE'S A 15-MONTH AGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US, so he is older than me. There is something free about him. As an actor, he always makes you feel like he’s saying the words for the first time.
ALL OF US who were involved in Star Trek: The Next Generation are proud of the work. It’s always a pleasure to hear people speak about the impact on their young lives when they were watching the show.
WHEN I MET MY WIFE SUNNY, we found that both of us were crazy about dogs, so we began fostering. It can be quite a difficult job when you get so close to a small creature. We had one dog who we immediately sensed was unwell within 48 hours. We took him to the vet, who said he had to be put down. But every single fostering experience has been wonderful.
WE PROMISED ONE ANOTHER that a time will come when we shall choose for ourselves our own dog. He will be with me, hopefully, for the rest of my life. And I can't wait for that moment to arrive.
I'M NOT A COLLECTOR BUT I DO LOVE WATCHES. I was 18 before I had one, and I still look at it as an essential part of my life. I've never thrown one away, so I have some very ancient watches. Currently I’m very enthusiastic about IWC. They have everything I need.
MY MEMOIR WAS SOMETHING OF AN ACCIDENT, and honestly, we have Covid to hold responsible for it. Shooting television series or movies somewhere in the world, it's not possible to spend your spare time writing. Especially at my age, when I spend my spare time sleeping. But my agent said, “Look, nobody's going to be working, why don't you give it a shot?” So I said I would on the condition that if I wasn't enjoying it, we would return the advance and I would go back to playing jigsaw puzzles.
I NEVER ANTICIPATED THAT I WOULD WRITE A BOOK, never in a million years! Whenever I have it in my hands now, it scares me a little bit. But the experience of writing was profoundly satisfying. I enjoyed it so much.
GROWING UP, we did a lot of sports because it was my passion at the time. I was lucky to be in an environment with parents who were doing everything they could to offer me good education, to have something to eat. to have a roof over my head. Compared to the rest of the population on Earth, I was very lucky.
MY FATHER came from Madagascar and lived in a township. My mother lived on a farm with no electricity and water when she was young. Their histories gave me the perspective that allow me to achieve. That's why I never take things for granted.
I MEET PEOPLE from all over the world and they'd say that in my country, I can't get Krug. `One of my objectives is to be able to offer the possibility to make Krug available for a wider number of communities. Fifty years ago, Krug was mostly served in France, UK and Italy. Now we are sold in Japan, the US, in Scandinavia but I think we can go further.
FIFTEEN or 20 years ago, you will go to Shanghai and you will see people drinking spirits. I was in Shanghai four weeks ago and there were many wine bars. They grew like... mushrooms. I saw young people talking about a Barolo, 20 years old, something that you hardly find in Paris. So we need to be there. We need to be there because I think they deserve to have a glass of Krug from time to time.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE with champagne was like with most people—it was during a celebratory moment. What's great is that in the last 10 to 15 years, champagne has moved from being a celebratory drink to one that's ubiquitous as wine. It is paired with food; it's drunk at casual occasions.
OPENING A BOTTLE of champagne creates the reason of the celebration.
AN EXAMPLE: you put on a certain kind of music when you're engaging in sports and exercise. It switches your mentality, your mood. If you're going on a date, you will put on a different type of music. So, why can't music alter the tastes of the champagne?
ONE OF THE WAYS is to talk about what you feel from drinking. Music is an analogy to that emotion. This might be a way to help people to enter the world of Krug without being too technical.
IT IS SUCH A great evocation of memories. Whenever I hear Balinese music, I remember my trip to Bali with my kids and my wife; the temples that we visited, the dinners we had.
MUSIC IS PERSONAL—some people can feel it, others don't.
SOME PEOPLE are afraid of wine, in general, because it's can be very technical. You hear about "master sommeliers" or "masters of wine"; the vocabulary can be intimidating to laypeople. We believe that we need to be more open to them.
I LOVE PIANO MUSIC. I've tried my hand at it but I'm bad at it. You need to know what you're good at and what you're not good at.
OF COURSE, we need to carry on crafting fantastic champagnes and so on but we need to accelerate and to go further and faster on the sustainable development front. That has already been part of LVMH and Krug's history in values. We already saw the huge impact of global warming. I'm more concerned about the forest fires in Portugal, in Italy, in Canada in the US. The heat waves in China; plastic is everywhere in the ocean. We need to take this seriously.
KRUG is very small. We may not make a huge impact in terms of sustainability but we need to lead by example. Everything that we can do, we need to do it. Maybe not showcase it because sometimes, I'm afraid about greenwashing.
WE HAVE STOPPED using herbicides for nearly 10 years now and we are on the edge of becoming certified organic. It's a three year process and this is the last year for harvest. So when we start the new vineyard campaign next November, we will be organic.
NO, I never think about [being the youngest president for Krug], except when journalists ask me questions about it.