Kal Penn comes out as gay, shares how his 11-year relationship started with NASCAR

Kal Penn comes out as gay, dating partner for 11 years

Kal Penn, most known for his role as Kumar Patel alongside John Cho’s Harold Lee in the hit “Harold and Kumar” film franchise, has come out as gay and announced his recent engagement.

It started with NASCAR: In an interview with People, Penn, 44, teased some details about his new book “You Can’t Be Serious,” where he talks about his sexuality, family and his first date with his partner Josh, whom he met while working in the White House under the Obama Administration.

  • “I’m really excited to share our relationship with readers,” Penn said. “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.”
  • One of the private stories he shares in his book is about his first date with Josh, which involved a pack of Coors Light and 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. I’m like, ‘What is happening?’ I wanted the reader to enjoy the love and the humor through all of those stories.”

Over a decade: While speaking to “CBS Sunday Morning,” Penn revealed he and Josh have been dating for 11 years, and they recently celebrated their anniversary in October.

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  • “So, for me in writing about it, I think the tricky thing was…it’s very matter-of-fact in our lives, and when you’re the son of Indian immigrants who says [sic] that you want to be an actor, the chaos that that creates in your family and your community will trump anything else, always,” Penn said.
  • The “Designated Survivor” star expressed how happy he was to have very supportive friends and family regarding his life decisions and his relationship. Penn told People that any conversation he had with his Indian parents after telling them he wanted to be an actor became “super easy.”
  • “They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I felt very supported by everyone,” he said. “That’s a wonderful thing. I know everybody has different experiences with that and so I definitely feel very fortunate.”
  • Penn then continued to talk about his wedding. While the American actor and former White House staff member wants to have a big wedding, his partner is not a fan of the attention it entails.
  • “Obviously I am engaged to a man and our families will be there for the wedding,” he said. “The big disagreement now is whether it’s a huge wedding or a tiny wedding. I want the big ass Indian wedding. Josh, [who] hates attention, [has said], ‘Or we could just do [a] quick 20-minute thing with our families and that’s it.’ So we have to meet halfway in the middle.”

On his sexuality: Penn also shared some details about his sexuality in the book, which is set to release on Nov. 2. The actor said he found out about his sexuality “relatively late in life compared to many other people.”

  • “There’s no timeline on this stuff,” Penn said. “People figure their sh*t out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”

 

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