Kal Penn, known for his Harold & Kumar movies and who served as an advisor to President Obama has come out as gay, and revealed that he’s engaged to be married.
The 44-year-old actor opened up about his sexuality publicly for the first time in a new interview with People magazine ahead of tomorrow’s (November 2) release of his new tell-all memoir, titled You Can’t Be Serious. Penn said that he is engaged to Josh, his partner of 11 years. He also told the publication that he felt “very supported” when he came out to his loved ones.
In the book, the actor shares the story of how he and Josh met and fell in love when he was living in Washington D.C., recalling his first date with Josh and being shocked that his future partner arrived at his apartment with an 18-pack of Coors Light and instantly switched the TV to watch NASCAR.
“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,” Penn says. “I have one day off from The White House and this dude is unironically watching cars go around and make left turns? Next thing you know, it’s been a couple months and we’re watching NASCAR every Sunday. I’m like, ‘What is happening?’ I wanted the reader to enjoy the love and the humor through all of those stories.”
In 2009, Penn took a hiatus from acting to serve in President Barack Obama’s administration as part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.
Penn says he is grateful that he has always had the full support of his family and friends in all aspects of his life, but especially with regard to his relationship with Josh. “I shared things with my parents and close friends first,” he says. “I know this sounds jokey, but it’s true: When you’ve already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor for a living, really any conversations that come after that are super easy. They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I felt very supported by everyone. That’s a wonderful thing. I know everybody has different experiences with that and so I definitely feel very fortunate.”
Penn shares that he discovered his sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people. “There’s no timeline on this stuff,” he shares. “People figure their s— out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”
When it comes to planning their wedding, Penn said, “Obviously I am engaged to a man and our families will be there for the wedding. The big disagreement now is whether it’s a huge wedding or a tiny wedding. I want the big a– Indian wedding. Josh, hates attention, [has said], ‘Or we could just do quick 20-minute thing with our families and that’s it.’ So we have to meet halfway in the middle.”