Neil Patrick Harris: A Man's Man


By Bill Keith

OUT: Did growing up in Hollywood make it easier or harder for you to come out?
NPH: I think it was harder. Actually, I think it was easier for me, because I was around a lot of people who were gay and I was around a lot of people who were very confident. I was surrounded by people I could talk to freely about anything, and they were very successful emotionally and otherwise.
OUT: And yet...
NPH: And yet, part of the coming-out process is figuring out who you like and what that means and how to act upon it. Being an actor reduced my level of anonymity. I couldn't just go to some bar and walk in and ask someone out on a date, because there was too much awareness of me. So it made it more difficult in that sense. I couldn't be, like, 'Maybe I like this kind of guy' or 'Maybe I'm into this' -- I couldn't really experiment. I sort of had to narrow my gaze from afar. If I had any regret, it would be that strange lack of anonymity that created panic within myself that I would be found out. But I think that's everyone's big fear.
OUT: You don't regret that you didn't get out ahead of Perez Hilton forcing your hand in your coming-out process?
NPH: Hmm. I'm just glad it wasn't based on scandal. I didn't want there to be some 'we got footage' story where I have to make some sort of statement about some event that happened. But I'm not that scandalous...I don't have a lot of random sex --
OUT: This interview just got a lot shorter.
NPH: [Laughs] But I'm not -- I've never done cocaine. I'm not a crazy partyer. I don't stay up and rent private jets and go on yachts and whoop it up in Miami. I found a guy that I'm head over heels for and we have similar interests and we spend our time together.
OUT: You and David have been together for 4' years. When you first started dating you were out personally but not professionally, right? Did that create some early relationship tension?
NPH: No. If anything, it probably gave us more exclusive time together because we weren't out in public places. We'd have dinner and then hang out. But he has had lots of interesting chapters as well. His first boyfriend -- they had twins together. So they were involved in the whole surrogate/making babies/two dads-with-babies-in-strollers thing, so he's lived with scrutiny in many ways that I haven't.
OUT: But dating someone whose every trip to the airport is now covered on blogs must have some distinct challenges.
NPH: Well, there has been one other negative element about being out publicly as a couple. He and I are both actors, and I've been trying to be protective of him so that his identity wasn't linked so much to mine so that he could succeed on his own. But by being so, it creates its own strange dynamic. Because if we walk hand in hand down the red carpet together, then he's known as being linked to me. But if I walk down the red carpet and he goes ahead of me, then it looks like we're not proud of being with each other. So that's been tricky. It requires a lot of communication between us.
OUT: Are you thinking about marriage?
NPH: Well, I think if and when we do, we'd probably announce it after the fact as opposed to making the big announcement that it was going to happen.
OUT: But it's important to you?
NPH: Yeah. We both wear rings, and I'm giddy when I see all the pictures of people so happy standing there, confirming the love they wish they could have expressed for a long time.
OUT: Like the 75-year-old couples --
NPH: It's unbelievable. I think that speaks way more than the 'God Hates Fags' signs.