Neil Patrick Harris Lets it all Hang Out

What does out actor Neil Patrick Harris think about
something? Lately, he’ll tell you — in sometimes eyebrow raising detail.
Consider the last month and a half:

  • Harris talked to Hollywood Reporter about his coming out, joking at one point,
    "I made out with Cobie Smulders last week on the show, and when I watched
    it, I got an erection. And she’s a chick, you know what I’m
  • He appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where he revealed intimate details of his
    sex life, telling Howard when and how he lost his virginity, that he slept with
    12-15 women before accepting his gayness, and that he and partner David Burtka
    are monogamous and versatile.
Harris (left) & partner David Burtka

Photo credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
  • When Britney Spears guest-starred on Harris’
    sitcom How I Met Your Mother, he was
    surprisingly blunt to E! about how it
    came to be, saying, “It gets the name How
    I Met Your Mother
    out more, which I think is important, but it
    should be clear, and I hope you state this, Britney’s camp came entirely to us
    with the idea of it, and in fact, we all thought it was a joke.” He was just as
    frank to an AP reporter, saying, among other things, “I worry that if they
    start ‘Will and Gracing’ us too much, that the show will suffer.” This caused
    such an outcry that Harris had to issue a statement saying he’d been misquoted
    and that, “Britney did a great job on the show.” The AP stood by their story.
Harris & Britney Spears

Harris first came to widespread fame in 1989 as the
16-year-old star of Doogie Howser M.D., an
ABC “dramedy” about a child genius who becomes a doctor. The role brought
Harris enormous success, but cemented his public image as a sensitive, somewhat
nerdy prodigy.

In the early 00s, Harris made what seemed to be a concerted
effort to break out of the typecasting caused by Doogie Howser with a successful turn as the lecherous Emcee in a
Broadway revival of Cabaret, and in
an attention-getting cameo as a drug-addled, horny-heterosexual version of
himself (he wasn’t yet out publicly) in the 2004 movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

“I did a whole slew of made-for-TV telefilms where I was a
serial arsonist, I hacked up my parents with a wood maul,” Harris told the NPR
radio show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
“Good times.”

In 2005, Harris took the role of Barney Stinson, an amoral
womanizer, on the CBS sitcom How I Met
Your Mother
. The character was enormously popular and revolutionized his
career, landing him a 2007 Emmy and People’s Choice Award nominations.

Josh Radnor (left) & Harris in How I Met Your Mother

In November of 2006, after some Internet writers began
speculating on his sexuality, he came out in a statement to People, saying, “I am happy to dispel
any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content
gay man.”

Next page! What Bruce Vilanch says about Neil!

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