Metro Weekly

Kal Penn comes out as gay, announces engagement to partner Josh

Penn made the announcement while promoting his tell-all memoir, "You Can't Be Serious"

kal penn
Kal Penn on the cover of You Can’t Be Serious — Credit: Simon & Schuster

Actor Kal Penn has come out and revealed he is engaged to be married to his partner of 11 years, Josh.

Penn, known for the Harold & Kumar films as well as Designated Survivor, Clarice, Deadbeat, and House, made the announcement while promoting his new memoir You Can’t Be Serious.

The 44-year-old, who also served as an advisor to President Obama, told People that he discovered his sexuality later in life, adding, “There’s no timeline on this stuff. People figure their shit out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”

Penn said he has “always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with,” but while he was “really excited” to share his relationship with Josh in his book, “Josh, my partner, my parents, and my brother, four people who I’m closest to in the family, are fairly quiet. They don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight.”

Penn said that he met Josh while working in the Obama administration, after taking a break from acting to serve in the White House Office of Public Liaison focusing on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts.

For their first date, Penn said that Josh brought an 18-pack of Coors Light to his apartment and switched Penn’s TV to NASCAR.

“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,” Penn told 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?’”

With regards his memoir, Penn said he wants readers to “feel like we’re having a beer together.”

“I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them,” he said. ” That was the way that my friends have met my parents and Josh, as they’ve gotten to know them over the last 10 years.”

kal penn
“You Can’t Be Serious” by Kal Penn — Credit: Simon & Schuster

He added that he has enjoyed support from family and friends regarding his relationship with Josh.

“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.’

“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.”

You Can’t Be Serious is available Nov. 2.

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