Kal Penn’s memoir, “You Can’t Be Serious” is set to drop on November 2, but that’s not the only big thing happening in the actor’s life at the moment. In an October 31 interview with People, the 44-year-old “House” and “Harold & Kumar” star and former Obama staffer revealed that he and his longtime partner, Josh — whose last name remains a mystery — are now engaged.
The couple has been going strong for 11 years at this point, but Penn thinks that he and Josh have probably defied some odds in actually becoming a thing. Upon first impression, he didn’t think that the two were going to be a good match for one another.
At the least, it didn’t appear as though their interests were in alignment. As Penn tells it, Josh showed up at his apartment for their first date with an 18-pack of Coors Light and NASCAR on the mind.
“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, 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.”
Above all else, Penn is looking to connect with his readers on “You Can’t Be Serious.” He relayed that he wants them to feel like they’re having a cold one with him as they experience the stories that make up his life so far. “I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them,” he said.
Still, he has made it clear that there will also be some wading into deep waters. That includes his upbringing as the son of Gujarati Indian immigrant parents and what it was like to tell them about his sexuality, as well as his relationship with Josh.
“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,” said Penn.
Respectfully Telling Their Story
Penn was determined to tell the story of his relationship and get down to the nitty-gritty regarding his family and friends, but he was also careful to respect boundaries. After all, not all of the people in his life are as accustomed to the spotlight as he is after more than two decades of acting and a two-plus-year run in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
“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 said. “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.”