Yesterday, while promoting his forthcoming book, You Can’t Be Serious, actor Kal Penn announced his engagement to his longtime partner, Josh. Penn is best known for his roles in House as well as the Harold & Kumar movie series. Though he and Josh have been dating for 11 years, this is the first time Penn has spoken out about his sexuality.
“I’ve always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with. Whether it’s somebody that I meet at a bar, if Josh and I are out or we’re talking to friends,” Penn, who also worked as a White House aide during the Obama administration, told People. “I’m really excited to share our relationship with readers.” In his new book, Penn talks about his first date with Josh, which involved an 18-pack of Coors Light and an afternoon of watching NASCAR. “I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,’” he said, per People. “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?’”
During a Reddit AMA on Monday, Penn spoke about the decision to publicly come out now after remaining mostly quiet about his personal life. “I figured out my sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people,” Penn said. “I know there’s no timeline on this kinda stuff, so I’m very happy that I did when I did!” He also said that Josh “doesn’t love attention,” adding, “it was a tricky dance that I know many couples do, out of respect to their partners’ privacy, on how much of their lives to share and when.”
Penn told People he has had full support of his relationship from those closest to him. “I shared things with my parents and close friends first,” Penn said. “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.’”
A hearty congrats to Kal and Josh! May you continue drinking bad beer and watching NASCAR for many years to come.