Neil Patrick Harris joins Fresh Air to talk about child stardom (as Doogie Howser M.D.) playing a punk rock trans woman on Broadway in Hedwig, and his new autobiography.
In the interview shares why he was overly aware of how he carried himself when he was younger:
"Growing up, especially having done a TV show when I was younger, I was recognized more. I didn’t have 100 percent anonymity when I walked around in those years where I felt most awkward — through puberty, in my late teens where I had big ears and acne and an Adam’s apple. Maybe [I was] overly aware and conscientious of how I was carrying myself.
I wanted to be an actor who could play different types of roles, so I didn’t choose one way to carry myself. I chose a way that was … kind of Switzerland, in the middle: Stand tall, but don’t strut; walk straight. … And I was hyperaware of how I came across because I didn’t want to be overly effeminate. I didn’t want to be walking like I was a tough guy — I was oddly concerned about it.”
What’s It Like To Be Neil Patrick Harris? He Gives You Options
On coming out
I had no stigma in my own world or shame about who I was. … I did believe that a good actor is like a good magician. Magic is my hobby and I’ve been enamored by a magician’s ability to reveal very little about themselves so that they can create their own identity. … I thought as an actor there’s something innately good, nay necessary, about revealing a little bit about yourself so that people know who you are, but keeping a large portion of yourself [private] so that I could play all sorts of different roles.
Unfortunately, we live in a society now that’s very socially savvy. There’s Twitter and Facebook and camera phones and selfies and it’s impossible almost to be able to separate the two cleanly. So I knew that [coming out] would be an inevitability sometime.
I was thankfully in a relationship with David, who is now my husband, and I was very much in love with him and it started to seem uncomfortable to not recognize him. It seemed more insulting to him to go to a movie premiere … and then I get out of the car on one door, he gets out of the car on the other door, I go down the press line by myself. … That just seemed disrespectful.
On losing his virginity
All of my friends in high school were getting laid and it was so awesome to hear their stories and it seemed so cool and they were all so manly and all of their exploits were like, in the back of the car, on a mesa, with a keg of beer, you know? … I was just not that kid. I didn’t have any game. I didn’t know how to do it; I wasn’t really into it. …
We were at a party … and some girl was there from college, New Mexico State University, with a friend and [she] told my group of friends that she wanted to have sex with me because I was on a TV show.
And so my friends were like, “This is the time! It’s perfect! You have to have sex right now!” … It seemed perfect at the time … so it happened. So it was very warm and exciting and it was done very quickly. And then she was done — she didn’t want to date me or anything. … I was sort of shell-shocked by it all. …. I thought, “OK. Where’s my pants?” And then she was gone. It was very unceremonious.
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