On Sunday, Kal Penn confirmed that he is engaged to his partner of 11 years, Josh.
The actor and former White House staff member during the Barack Obama administration first shared his relationship in his upcoming book “You Can’t Be Serious.” In an interview with People, he confirmed the news publicly for the first time, sharing some intimate details of their relationship and balancing his private and public life.
“I’ve always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with,” he said of his decision to finally reveal his relationship publicly. “Whether it’s somebody that I meet at a bar, if Josh and I are out or we’re talking to friends. I’m really excited to share our relationship with readers.”
The 44-year-old actor had a caveat to his statement, adding, “But 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.”
Due to this desire for privacy from his loved ones, Penn had to have a delicate balance with what he included in his forthcoming book, which is set to release on Tuesday, Nov. 2. He said the most important thing to him was having his story be authentic from his point of view so that readers could know him.
The “House” star shared details in his book about his first date with Josh, who brought an 18-pack of beer to his apartment and immediately put NASCAR on the television. At first, Penn thought it wouldn’t work out, explaining, “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?’” he continued. “I wanted the reader to enjoy the love and the humor through all of those stories.”
Penn also shared that he had the full support of his family and friends when it came to his relationship with Josh, explaining that he always shared things with them first.
“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,’” he said. “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.”
When it came to discovering his own sexuality, Penn said that he found his “relatively late in life” in comparison to others, adding, “There’s no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s— out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”
Penn got his start as an actor, appearing in movies such as 2002’s “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” and its 2006 sequel “Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj,” the “Harold and Kumar” trilogy, as well as the show “House.” He exited the medical drama in 2009 when he was offered a position as principal associate director in the Office of Public Engagement under the Obama administration.
Eventually, after two years, he left his position at the White House to return to acting and a character he knew well, starring in 2011’s “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.”