Kal Penn Image Credit: AP

Indian American actor Kal Penn has revealed details about his rise to stardom from his humble beginnings as a Gujarati boy growing up in New Jersey, along with announcing that he is now an engaged man.

Penn, who first tasted success with ‘Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle’ (2004), has chronicled his Hollywood journey and eventually finding love in his new memoir ‘You Can’t Be Serious’. Born Kalpen Suresh Modi, the actor describes himself as the “skinny Brown kid from New Jersey” in the book who went on to find fame in Hollywood and has paved the way for other Asian-American actors to find a foothold in the industry.

You Can't Be Serious book cover
You Can't Be Serious book cover Image Credit: Simon & Schuster

“If you’ve always grown up seeing people who look like you on screen, I totally understand why a lot of people are like, ‘Well, what’s the big deal?’” he told correspondent Luke Burbank in a CBS News sit-down interview. “But to be invisible, it kind of makes you feel like your possibilities might be limited.”

After ‘Harold & Kumar’, Penn also tasted success with the award-winning ‘The Namesake’, where he starred alongside Tabu, along with bagging jobs on the hit TV shows ‘House’ and ‘Designated Survivor’. But at the height of his career Penn decided to take time off from showbiz and join former US president Barack Obama’s campaign for a few year to dedicate his time public service. It is also around the time he met Josh, the man who Penn revealed as his fiance in the memoir.

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Kal Penn and Kiefer Sutherland in ‘Designated Survivor Image Credit: Netflix

“Josh and I’ve been together for 11 years,” Penn, 44, said in the same interview. “We had our 11th anniversary in October. So, for me and writing about it, I think the tricky thing was, you’re right, it’s very matter-of-fact in our lives, and when you’re the son of Indian immigrants who says that you want to be an actor, the chaos that that creates in your family and your community, will trump anything else, always.”

Penn also spoke at length with People about going public with his relationship status after all these years. “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 said. “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.”

Kal Penn and Irrfan Khan
Kal Penn and Irrfan Khan in 'The Namesake' Image Credit: Insatgram.com/kalpenn

He 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. 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.”

Penn’s book, ‘You Can’t Be Serious’, is available from November 2.