“I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people,” Penn said in an interview to People magazine, which ironically had once listed him as one of the most eligible bachelors in America. “There’s no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s*** out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”
The interview is a prelude to his new memoir, “You Can’t Be Serious,” in which the 44-year-old actor, known for his roles in the movie “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” and TV serial “Designated Survivor,” opened up about his 11-year relationship with and subsequent engagement to his partner, whose name was given as Josh. Penn revealed that he met Josh during his two-year stint working in the White House from 2009 as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration.
Born to Gujarati immigrant parents from Kaira and Baroda, Kalpen grew up in New Jersey, where his father Suresh Modi was an engineer and his mother Asmita Bhatt was a fragrance evaluator for a perfume company. He once explained that he took the name Kal Penn almost as a joke after he was told an anglicized name on his resume would result in more job interviews. Although it is said he uses his anglicized name only for professional purposes and he prefers to be called by his birth name, in the media and public life at least Kalpen has been buried by Kal Penn.
His coming out also surprised both politics and the film industry given his widely discussed bachelor status and eligibility. But he spilled out to People magazine what he has explained in more detail in his memoir saying, “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.” He has also revealed that he has shared the news with is parents and close friends and he feels “very supported by everyone.”
Kalpen’s coming out follows some high-level representation of the LGBTQ community in the Biden administration, including its transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, who announced recently that he and his partner had welcomed two newborn fraternal twins on September 4, 2021. “Mayor Pete” as he is often called, even took paternity causing a minor kerfuffle in the system.