Kal Penn, the Indian-American actor and a former adviser to former US president Barack Obama, has come out as gay and revealed he is engaged.
Known for the Harold & Kumar movies, Penn, whose real name is Kalpenn Suresh Modi, revealed the news to PEOPLE on Sunday ahead of the release of his memoir You Can’t Be Serious.
Penn, who is 44 years old, has been in a relationship with his partner Josh for 11 years. He has revealed details of how they met in his new book.
"I've 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 told the magazine.
"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,” the actor said. Therefore, he said while he wanted to be transparent and truthful in the book, he also didn’t want to compromise the privacy of his loved ones.
"I shared things with my parents and close friends first," Penn said. "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.’” The actor said he felt very supported by everyone in his life.
Penn served as an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration and has since continued acting. He has acted in House, Designated Survivor and most recently, Clarice.