Neil Patrick Harris Talks Love, Teenage Sex and Disney Princess Costumes

41-year-old How I Met Your Mother alum, who is playing a transgender rocker in Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Itch, made his comments to Glamour

By Corinne Heller Aug 13, 2014 9:33 PMTags

Neil Patrick Harris says he fell in love all over again with longtime partner David Burtka after the two welcomed their twins, Gideon and Harper, three years ago, and also recalls how as a teenager, he felt "unsettled" being intimate with women.

The 41-year-old How I Met Your Mother alum, who is wrapping up a more than four-month Tony-winning run as the star of the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Itch, made his comments to Glamour in an interview published in the magazine's September 2014 issue.

While talking about how to make a relationship last, Harris told the outlet. "I think you have to find new elements that turn you on, and not only sexually. Having kids was one of those great moments for me."

"Watching David become another level of person, mastering this other domain, made me look at him with a whole other set of appreciative eyes," he said. "That sort of made me re-fall in love with him."

Harris, a former teenage heartthrob who rose to fame in the late 1980s playing a teenage doctor on Doogie Howser, M.D., came out publicly as gay in 2006, at age 33. In a 2012 joint interview with Burtka on Oprah's Next Chapter, the actor, who played womanizer Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, told Oprah Winfrey he was about 6 or 7 years old when he realized he was gay. Both said they had had sex with women in the past.

"In high school all my friends were sleeping with girls, and it just seemed like that's what one did. So therefore that's what I did, but it left me feeling unsettled, as if I had somehow done it wrong," Harris told Glamour. "That's not a good feeling."

"But now I think it's easier to avoid that fate," he added. "Today, it's cool to see a happy lesbian couple who are high school juniors. Better that than have those two girls marry people they're not attracted to, have three kids, and then come out when they're 50."

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

In 2010, Harris and Burtka, one of the most famous same-sex couples in Hollywood, welcomed Gideon and Harper via a surrogate mother. Burtka told Winfrey that he was more "maternal" than his partner.

Meanwhile, the pair's son and daughter are discovering their own gender identities. Harris told Glamour that Harper enjoys wearing Disney princess costumes and has received praise for them, which drew her twin brother's attention.

"Gideon felt left out, so he put on a dress, too," he said. "We all cooed and aww-ed and there was no weirdness. But after about four minutes, you could see it: He just didn't like it. It was too girly, too frilly, and he just took it off, like, Nah, this is not my thing. Lately he's been wearing construction vests and hard hats, and he asks construction people if he can work with them. He couldn't be happier."