Kal Penn confirmed he is engaged to his partner of 11 years, Josh, on Sunday.
In his new book You Can’t Be Serious, the actor shares the story of how he and Josh met and fell in love when Penn was living in Washington D.C., and tells PEOPLE about his decision to share their relationship with audiences.
“I’ve always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with,” he said of his choice to go public with his relationship. “Whether it’s somebody that I meet at a bar, if Josh and I are out or we’re talking to friends. 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 continued.
“Figuring out the narrative [in the book], of how to respect who they really are, with telling my story — that 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 that I’m willing to share stories about their upbringing,” he says. “So that was the most important thing for me. I wanted my story to be authentic from my perspective and told in a way that makes you feel like you really get to know me.”
In You Can’t Be Serious, Penn talks about his first date with Josh, which included his future partner showing up to his apartment with an 18-pack of Coors Light and deciding the two would watch NASCAR.
“I thought, ‘This obviously is not going to work out,” he recalls. “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.”
Penn continues: “The whole point of writing this book was for the reader to feel like we’re having a beer together. I thought, if we’re supposed to feel like we’re having a beer together, then I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them. That was the way that my friends have met my parents and Josh, as they’ve gotten to know them over the last 10 years.”
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