Kal Penn recently revealed that he is gay and engaged to his partner of 11 years, Josh.
In an exclusive interview with People, the Designated Survivor actor said he discovered his sexuality “relatively late in life” and he was “fortunate” to be “supported by everyone”.
“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,” he said.
The 44-year-old has opened up about his relationship with Josh, who he identified only by his first name in order to protect his privacy, including stories such as first date in his forthcoming book You Can’t Be Serious.
At the time, Penn was working at the White House for the Barack Obama administration. He was the principal associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement between 2009 and 2011.
Recalling that Josh showed up at his apartment with an 18-pack of beer, Penn said his now-fiancé immediately switched the TV channel to watch NASCAR.
“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out’,” Penn said. “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.”
His new book is full of stories like this one, the actor told the publication.
The whole point of You Can’t Be Serious, he added, was for the reader to feel like they’re getting a beer with Penn.
“I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them,” the actor said, adding, “That was the way that my friends have met my parents and Josh.”
Actors Andy Samberg and Mindy Kaling, political consultant David Axelrod, and journalist Ronan Farrow are among those who have praised Penn’s “hilarious, poignant and inspiring” book.
When asked how his family reacted to Penn’s coming out as gay, the actor joked: “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.”
But his new book does not focus on just his love life, it also covers Penn’s career in Hollywood and his parents “to the extent that I’m willing to share stories about their upbringing”, the actor said.
Penn said his goal while writing You Can’t Be Serious was to portray everyone in his life as they really were. “I hope it makes people laugh and smile,” Penn said.
You Can’t Be Serious releases on 2 November (Tuesday).