Actor Kal Penn has unexpectedly revealed he’s been in a relationship with his partner, Josh, for 11 years, and that the happy couple are now engaged.
In an interview with PEOPLE, the 44-year-old actor—who you’ll either know from Harold and Kumar, Designated Survivor, or that season 7 storyline in How I Met Your Mother—said he met Josh while taking a break from Hollywood and working for the Obama administration.
“I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people,” Penn told the publication.
“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.”
He said that while he’s really excited to share his long-term relationship with the public, the four most important people in his life—Josh, his parents, and his brother—are quite private.
“They don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight,” he said.
He’s going public now as his new book, You Can’t Be Serious, details his first date with Josh, who turned up to his Washington D.C. apartment with an 18-pack of beer and turned the TV on to watch NASCAR.
“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,” he wrote. “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.”
Penn said he was completely supported by his family when telling them about his sexuality.
“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,” he said. “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.”
His book is already earning praise from the likes of actress Mindy Kaling and Catch and Kill author Ronan Farrow, who called it “insightful, funny and instructive for anyone who’s ever grappled with how they fit into the American dream”. Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg called Penn an “American treasure” and his book “essentially a treasure map”.
You Can’t Be Serious is out today in Australia. As for Kal Penn’s upcoming wedding—he’s in full planning mode, trying to convince his fiancé they should have “the big ass Indian wedding” instead of the “quick 20-minute thing with our families” Josh wants. We can’t wait for all the details.