Talking with correspondent Luke Burbank about his career trajectory — which included a two-year detour to work in the Obama Administration — the Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle star confirmed he has been in a relationship with his partner Josh for 11 years.
“We had our 11th anniversary in October,” he said, referring to his coming-out in the memoir as very “matter-of-fact.”
“When you’re the son of Indian immigrants who says that you want to be an actor, the chaos that that creates in your family and your community will trump anything else always!” he joked.
Penn has since confirmed to People magazine he and Josh are engaged.
“I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people,” Penn exclusively told People while promoting his new memoir You Can’t Be Serious. “There’s no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s**t out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”
Penn explained that he feels “very fortunate” to have a family that supports him, adding that he “shared things with my parents and close friends first.”
“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.”
While Penn is sharing his “authentic” self with readers in a new way, he makes it clear that he’s 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 continued. “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.
As for their upcoming nuptials, Penn says the two are still in the planning stages, but he’s pushing for a “big ass Indian wedding.”
“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,” he said. “Josh [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.”
You Can’t Be Serious is set to be released on Monday.
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