Kal Penn, star of the Harold and Kumar film franchise,  Designated Survivor, House, and How I Met Your Mother has come out as gay in his new memoir You Can’t be Serious.  

In a interview with People magazine, Penn, 44, discussed his  decision to come out, his partner Josh, and why he hadn’t made his sexuality publicly known before now.  

“There’s no timeline on this stuff,” said Penn, who currently stars  on the CBS crime drama Clarice. “People figure their s— out at  different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”  

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“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,” said Penn. “I’m really  excited to share our relationship with readers. 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.”  

‘I Wanted My Story To Be Authentic’

“Figuring out the narrative of how to respect who they really are,  with telling my story — that includes: my work life, both in  Hollywood and DC, it includes my love life with Josh and how we  met, it includes my parents, to the extent that I’m willing to share  stories about their upbringing,” Penn told People.

“So that was the most important thing for me. I wanted my story  to be authentic from my perspective and told in a way that makes  you feel like you really get to know me,” said Penn.  

Penn spoke more about his partner in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, saying, “Josh and I’ve been together for 11  years. We had our 11th anniversary in October. So, writing about  it… it’s very matter-of-fact in our lives, and when you’re the son  of Indian immigrants who says that you want to be an actor, the  chaos that that creates in your family and your community, will  trump anything else, always.”  

In his book, Penn describes his first date with Josh and how his  now-partner showed up with a case of Coor’s Light, and turned on  the television to watch NASCAR.  

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Penn told People, “I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work  out.’ 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 humour through all of those  stories,” said Penn.  

A Big Indian Wedding

“I really hope that people enjoy the book. I hope it makes people  laugh and smile,” Penn told People. “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 ass 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.”  

In an Instagram post, Penn said, “I hope You Can’t Be Serious shows how it’s okay to have more than one life story. No matter  who you are or where you come from, you can make more choices than just those presented to you.” 

While he may only have just come out publicly, Penn did post two  pictures on Instagram June 28 at the Stonewall Inn in New York  City to which he added, “A very fun NYC Sunday. Happy Pride  y’all!” He was joined in one of the photos by Chasten Buttigieg,  husband of former Democratic Presidential candidate and US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.  

 

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Not everyone was thrilled by the extensive media attention Penn’s  coming out received. Chasten Buttigieg, tweeted, “To write a  deeply intimate and hilarious book about acting, politics, family,  identity, and navigating those spaces as a man of colour only to  have an article focus on your gayness highlights exactly why  @kalpenn aptly titled his book You Can’t Be Serious.”  

Penn also served as the Associate Director of the White House  Office of Public Engagement, in Barack Obama’s administration  from 2009-2011, using his birth name of Kalpen Modi. During his tenure in the White House, Penn was the liaison to young people  as well as the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

Penn also served on President Donald Trump’s Committee on the  Arts and the Humanities but resigned following Trump’s response  to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

You Can’t Be Serious, published by Simon & Schuster, will hit  bookstore shelves November 2.

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