Neil Patrick Harris started his career as a child star and rocketed to fame with the starring role in hit ABC drama Doogie Howser, MD. He’s since appeared in bawdy comedies like the Harold & Kumar franchise and Animal Roomplayed a more serious role in Gone, Girland even voiced an animated character in the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movies. All that is in addition to his career-defining role as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and various roles in live theater.
But it’s the recent news that he has joined Doctor Who as its latest villain that currently has the longtime actor back in the spotlight. Behind all his accomplishments, the Stark Raving Mad alum has enjoyed a long-running relationship with his husband, actor David Burtka. Here’s everything to know about Neil’s husband and their 8 year marriage.
How Did David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris Meet?
According to the loving couple themselves, they met through friends in New York City, back in 2004. “I ran into my friend Kate one day and she was with this brooding, James Dean–type guy in a leather jacket who gave me the head nod and then turned away,” Neil told Out magazine back in 2012. “I assumed he was Kate’s boyfriend and said, ‘Nicely done.’ And she said, ‘David? He’s not playing on my team, but he has a boyfriend.”” Neil said that he didn’t want to be “that guy who was creating some sort of romantic interference,” so he remained on the periphery with interest. “So, I was always around when he was around, hoping the stars would align,” he continued. “When we all hung out for the first time — I was invited by Kate to an American Idol viewing party — I just stammered around him. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.”
As David tells it, the relationship moved quickly after he broke up with his previous relationship. “I ended up breaking with my boyfriend, and a week later, Neil and I had a date,” he told Out for the same article. “We went to see a movie — I think it was Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie. We started hanging out every single night, and after three months, it was just non-stop. We talk on the phone at least eight times a day and text at least 25 times a day.”
David and Neil Got Married in 2014
It was a full decade of dating before they were finally married. They were well into their relationship when the Marriage Equality Act passed in New City in 2011, and they announced their engagement on Twitter. “David and I did propose to each other, but over five years ago!” Neil wrote on June 25, 2011. “We’ve been wearing engagement rings for ages, waiting for an available date.”
That date came on September 6, 2014. The couple tied the knot at a 50-person event in a castle near Perugia, Italy, per CBS. Elton John reportedly performed and introduced their first dance, to Kelly Clarkson hit “A Moment Like This.” Fireworks during the song punctuated the couple’s perfect moment.
The Couple Share Two Beautiful Children
Neil and David welcomed twins via surrogate on October 12, 2010. Twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace were born on October 12, 2010. “Babies!! On 10/12, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace entered the Burtka-Harris fold,” Neil wrote via Twitter a few days later. “All of us are happy, healthy, tired, and a little pukey.”
David revealed in Out magazine that he and Neil discussed having a family from the beginning. “Even on that first date, we talked about kids,” he told the magazine. “If he hadn’t wanted kids, I don’t think we’d be together. I always thought that family was the most important thing in life, and no matter what I do, whether being a chef or an actor or a dancer, being a dad is what I do best. I am the maternal one in the relationship. For the first year, I didn’t miss a nighttime or morning with them. I think it’s important to have other lives and feed your relationship, but it’s also important that your children are raised by you. We named Gideon after an artist we collect, Gideon Rubinand Harper after Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of our favorite books.”
What Have They Said About Their Relationship?
While the couple appears to have an ideal relationship and near-perfect life, David told Out in 2012 that they’re only human and have to work at their marriage. “I don’t want people to think we’re a perfect couple,” he said. Nothing’s perfect. A relationship is work and it changes. And you go with the changes. It’s more good times than bad times, but it’s not always good. You have to overcome those issues and move on. We have a really great recipe for a wonderful relationship, but we don’t want to be the poster boys for gay relationships. We’re not trying to pretend that we are perfect. We’re just trying — in a good, positive, loving way — to live our lives.”
Neil agreed. “What defines a relationship is the work that’s involved to maintain it, and it’s constantly changing,” he told the publication. “Sometimes I’m deeply in love with David and head-over-heels, and sometimes I question whether it’s going to work out and is meant to be. It’s like a business relationship, as well as a personal one; We have a business together and that’s maintaining our love for one another.”