Harold And Kumar Star Kal Penn Comes Out And Announces Engagement To Partner Of 11 Years

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on :
Harold & Kumar Star Kal Penn Comes Out And Announces Engagement To Partner Of 11 YearsAlamy

In a new interview, American actor and former White House member of staff, Kal Penn, has come out as gay and also revealed that he is engaged. 

The pair may have been together for over a decade, but Penn and his fiancé Josh have previously kept their relationship under wraps, with both Josh and family members not being fans of the ‘limelight’.


However, the Designated Survivor actor is now ‘really excited to share [their] relationship with readers’, after having first met Josh in Washington DC while taking a break from acting to work in the White House under the Obama administration.

Kal Penn Comes Out And Announces Engagement (Alamy) Alamy

The actor, who starred in the Harold & Kumar film franchise, told People how he has ‘always been very public with everybody [he’s] personally interacted with’. However, he explained that those close to him prefer a bit more privacy.

He 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.

Penn noted how he hoped his new memoir, You Can’t Be Serious, would subsequently balance his desire to be honest while also being able ‘to respect who they really are, with telling [his] story’ too.

The book covers Penn’s work life ‘both in Hollywood and DC’, his parents and their own upbringing and also his love life with Josh.


He recalled the pair’s first date and how he initially thought it was ‘obviously […] not going to work out’, because of Josh turning up with ‘an 18-pack of Coors Light’ and ‘instantly switch[ing] the TV to watch NASCAR’.

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.

The pair are now in the midst of planning their wedding. However, he joked that it’s uncertain whether it will be a ‘big a** Indian wedding’ or ‘quick 20-minute thing with [their] families’, as Josh isn’t a fan of the attention.


Penn explained how he discovered his sexuality ‘relatively late in life compared to many other people’ but is ‘glad’ he did so at this point.

‘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 joked.

Penn concluded: ‘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.’


If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Topics: Celebrity, Washington DC, White House


  1. People

    Kal Penn Reveals He's Engaged to Fiancé Josh and Details Their First Date in New Book