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Those who follow and are familiar with actor Kal Penn know that he is a talented actor on television and film (House, Designated survivors, that Harold and Kumar film franchise), and that he spent two years working in the White House for the Obama administration.
What most people may not know is that Penn, 44, has been in a relationship with his partner Josh for 11 years and the couple is engaged.
In his new book You can not be serious, the actor tells the story of how he and Josh met and fell in love when Penn lived in Washington DC, and tells PEOPLE about his decision to share their relationship with the audience.
“I’ve always been very public with everyone I’ve personally interacted with. Whether it’s someone I meet at a bar if Josh and I are out or we’ve talking to friends,” Penn says. “I’m really excited to share our relationship with the readers. But Josh, my partner, my parents and my brother, four people I’m closest to in the family are pretty quiet. They do not love attention and shy away from the spotlight. ”
That Designated survivors star says he wanted to be transparent and truthful in his book without compromising on the privacy of his loved ones.
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“Finding out the story [in the book], about how to respect who they really are, by telling my story – it includes: my work life, both in Hollywood and DC, it includes my love life with Josh and how we met, it includes my parents, to the extent I are willing to share stories about their upbringing, “he says.” So that was the most important thing to me. I wanted my story to be authentic from my perspective and told in a way that makes you feel like you’re really getting to know me. “
IN You can not be serious, Penn describes his first date with Josh and is shocked that his future partner a) arrived at his apartment with an 18-pack of Coors Light and b) immediately switched the TV to watch NASCAR.
“I thought, ‘This is obviously not going to work out,'” he recalls. “I have a day off from the White House, and this guy is watching ironic cars driving around and turning left? The next thing you know, it’s a few months ago, and we see NASCAR every Sunday. I think, ‘What’s up? ‘ I wanted the reader to enjoy the love and humor throughout all these stories. “
Download the new issue of PEOPLE at newsagents everywhere on Friday for much more about Kal Penn as he discusses growing up as the son of Indian immigrants, heading to Hollywood, speaking out against bigotry and making a meaningful detour to Obama’s White House. like returning to showbiz to fight for diversity and inclusion
Penn continues, “The whole point of writing this book was to make the reader feel like we’re having a beer together. I thought, if we’re gonna feel like we’ll have a beer together, stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I have experienced them.This was the way my friends have met my parents and Josh as they have come to know them over the last 10 years. “
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Penn says he is grateful that he has always had the full support of his family and friends in all aspects of his life, but especially with regard to his relationship with Josh.
“I shared things with my parents and close friends first,” he says. “I know it sounds funny, but it’s true: Once you’ve already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor to live, all the conversations that come after it are super easy. They’re like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ “I felt very supported by everyone. It’s a wonderful thing. I know everyone has different experiences with it, and so I definitely feel very lucky.”
Penn shares: “I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people. There’s no timeline on these things. People find out their s — out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad, that I did it when I did. “
Meanwhile, Penn happily promotes his book and tries to plan a wedding.
“I really hope people enjoy the book. I hope it makes people laugh and smile,” he says. “Obviously I’m engaged to a man and our families will be there for the wedding. The big disagreement now is whether it’s a big wedding or a small wedding. I want the big Indian wedding. Josh, hate 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. “
Penn’s book, You can not be serious, is available on 2 Nov.
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