Patrick Stewart kisses Ian McKellan on stage at Empire Awards

'He's one of my heroes for the way he stands up for his causes. He's the actor that people of my generation would like to be,' says Sir Ian

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Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan’s blossoming bromance has been picking up steam for quite some time but it reached new heights at the Empire Awards. The knighted thespians embraced each other with a kiss on stage at Sunday night’s award ceremony.

After Sir Patrick presented Sir Ian with the accolade for “Empire legend”, he went so far as to bestow him with a kiss on stage in order to congratulate him.

"At last! The evening is beginning to make some sense!" he said as the audience rose from their seats for a standing ovation. "Why would you call Patrick a legend? Bless him, he was born in Yorkshire!" 

"The range of his work is so gratifying and enviable. I'm trying to be serious here," Sir Ian continued. "He's one of my heroes for the way he stands up for his causes. He's the actor that people of my generation would like to be. But don't you love my hair?"

After their sweet embrace, Sir Patrick gave an acceptance speech which quoted Friedrich Nietzsche of all people.

"'Success is an impostor. It conceals the flaw, the wound, the fundamental doubt at the core of the artists' being'. Well, I only quoted that as I wanted to go down as the only actor in history to quote Nietzche. But nevertheless, sometimes, Mr Nietzche, you are right." 

He also thanked Sir Ian - who he referred to as his "brother and friend”.

The X-Men actors' friendship has blossomed since appearing on Broadway together a couple of years back. The pair have captured the hearts and laughs of many by posting photos of themselves doing everything from posing with Elmo to munching corn on the cob in bowler hats, to posing atop the Empire State Building, and much more. 

They two so close that Sir Ian, an outspoken LGBT activist, officiated Sir Patrick’s marriage to girlfriend and jazz singer Sunny Ozell in 2013. Sir Patrick announced the news by simply sharing a photo of him and his wife immersed in a ball pit and writing: “Yes married”.

While Sir Ian, is of course best known for playing Gandolf in Lord of The Rings, Sir Patrick rose to fame for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation