Actor Kal Penn Comes Out as Gay

92nd Academy Awards – Vanity Fair – Beverly Hills
Actor Kal Penn reveals he’s been engaged to a man for more than a decade in his new memoir.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Multi-hyphenate “House” actor and former White House official Kal Penn came out as LGBTQ on October 31, revealing he has been engaged to a man who he has been with for more than a decade.

The 44-year-old star, who worked as a White House staff member under the Obama administration and appeared in “Harold and Kumar,” “Sunnyside,” and “Designated Survivor,” opened up to People about his relationship with his fiancé, Josh. Ahead of the release of his latest memoir, “You Can’t Be Serious,”  Penn describes falling in love with his soon-to-be husband in Washington, DC, and his decision to tell audiences about their relationship.

“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,” Penn told People. “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.”


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Penn admits that he initially did not see a future with his partner. During the couple’s first date, Penn said he was surprised when Josh came over to his home with a pack of beer and immediately began watching NASCAR.

Kal Penn worked as a White House official under the Obama administration. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,'” he told People. “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, its 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.”

Penn said he discovered his sexuality later on in life, adding that there is “no timeline” for coming out. The actor, who is of South Asian heritage, said he and his partner are now planning out the details of their wedding.

“I really hope that people enjoy the book. I hope it makes people laugh and smile,” he says. “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.”

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