The 44-year-old star, who rose to fame in the “Harold & Kumar” movies, opened up about his sexuality publicly for the first time ahead of Tuesday’s release of his new tell-all memoir, which is called “You Can’t Be Serious.”
In an interview with People magazine, published Sunday, Penn said that he is engaged to Josh, his partner of 11 years. He also told the publication that he felt “very supported” when he came out to his loved ones.
Recalling the conversations, Penn said: “I 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 continued: “They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ … That’s a wonderful thing. I know everybody has different experiences with that and so I definitely feel very fortunate.”
Penn told People that while he was excited to share details of his longterm relationship with readers, Josh and other close family members “don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight.”
He added that he discovered his sexuality relatively late in life. Speaking of the couple’s wedding plans, Penn said he wants a big Indian wedding but his partner would prefer a “quick 20-minute thing with our families and that’s it.” The actor said the pair would have to “meet halfway in the middle.”
In addition to the “Harold & Kumar” franchise, Penn’s acting credits also include appearing in “House,” “Designated Survivor,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
In 2009, he took a hiatus from acting to serve in the President Barack Obama’s administration as part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.
Last year he told CNN’s Becky Anderson about his mission to get young Americans to vote.