Neil Patrick Harris Explains How Fatherhood Has Changed His Relationship With David Burtka

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

For the better part of 20 years, I was a solo practitioner. Then I got David, and that changed my dynamic. I had to be very conscious of another person, but we were still able to jump into a car and go to Vegas or spend three weeks in Italy. Although we were a unit, we were still very free.

When you have kids, everything anchors to their wants and needs, so you get less sleep and have to be more aware all the time. You have to be adaptable because they constantly keep changing. They’ll do something that blows your mind and then they’ll spit all their food out on the carpet.

The first year with them was complicated. They were twins, and they were crying a lot. Thank God for David. He is so good at differentiating cries.

David is so drawn to parenthood, just in his core, that I suddenly felt I was a perimeter guy. I was the man who put the cribs together and took the trash out. I tried to balance the equation.

The older they get, the more I love being a dad. Now that they’re talking, I’m really loving the camp counselor end of parenting. I’m all about reasoning. If they fall and are okay but crying, David [Burtka, his partner] will be the hugger, and I’ll be the ‘Show me where it hurts; let’s talk about it’ one. I come from a family of lawyers, so explanation is crucial.”


–Entertainer Neil Patrick Harris discussing the difference twins Harper and Gideon have made in his life, in a USA Today profile

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  • Merv

    From the looks of the picture, fatherhood has also made each of them about 100 pounds heavier.

  • balehead

    And everybody think’s I’m nasty….say it in Awesome Puppet dreams, Patrick!!

  • balehead

    Neil Patrick!! So Sorry!

  • Ogre Magi

    @Merv: Well, they are getting older too

  • MikeE

    @Merv: Really? You think that picture makes them look 100 lbs overweight?

    Dude, you really need professional help because you have some serious body dysmorphia issues going there.


    Translation: I’m the butch top and David is the Nelly bottom.

  • MikeE

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: so is that some sort of judgement? being a top is somehow inherently better than being a bottom?

  • the other Greg

    Gee – Gay fatherhood stories are as boring as hetero fatherhood stories. Who knew?

  • Snapper59

    @the other Greg: Nicely put, and no kidding. Gay daddies, please don’t pity me because I choose very happily to visit the nieces and nephews for an hour or two and then happily return them.

  • MikeE

    @Snapper59: No one is pitying you. But you might show a modicum of respect for the choices other people make, if you want others to respect your own.

    So you don’t like kids. That’s totally your right. I have to say, I’m not a “father type” either. I’ll happily stick to my dog and cats. At least, they’ll never ask for the car keys when they turn 18.

    But still, are the snark comments from all these people really adding anything to this discussion?

    It’s like the hipsters who dislike the things everyone else enjoys, just to be “different”.

  • the other Greg

    @MikeE: Oh dear, a call for edifying, high-minded, non-snarky comments on Queerty! Perhaps you got lost looking for the Advocate?

    But OK, I’ll give it a try and quote Tolstoy: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

  • Snapper59

    Ugh, if there’s one thing I’d rather hear less about than kids, it’s dogs and cats.
    Take the stick out your ass and go play catch.

  • Merv

    @Ogre Magi: @MikeE: I was making a joke about the picture on the main page. It may look different in other browsers, but in my browser the picture is stretched horizontally to make them look very wide.

  • LaTeesha

    @Snapper59: I don’t pity you. I pity your nieces and nephews who are most likely forced – by their parents – to be nice to their gay uncle who is a self-absorbed douche.

  • LaTeesha

    @the other Greg: You didn’t have to read the story, nor did you have to comment on it. Wow. Self-absorbed queens, like yourself, sure are high maintenance.

  • Charlie in Charge

    @LaTeesha: /agree

    I don’t understand the whole “This article doesn’t reflect my experience of life therefore I clicked on it, am annoyed by it and will now demand that these types of stories not get told.

  • the other Greg

    @LaTeesha: Lesson learned, that’s all. I like NPH as an actor so up to now I’ve clicked on any story about him. Now I know not to click on the fatherhood ones because they’ll probably be boring (to me). No biggie. … But I’ve never been called “high maintenance” before so thanks, I guess!

    @Charlie in Charge: ??? – Nobody in this comment thread “demands that these types of stories not get told.” We’re just poking a little fun at them. In fact if the stories don’t get told, we couldn’t make fun of them, so I guess we have an incentive for them to get told.

  • MikeE

    @Merv: It sort of dawned on me that it MIGHT have been a joke… I notice the stretched out image after posting.

    so I’m sorry for “reprimanding” you, as it was uncalled for. and it was, once understood and in context, actually a very funny comment :-)

  • MikeE

    @Snapper59: so you really are incapable of discussing with someone else without being an asshole, right? I get it now.

    and I didn’t pity you for not liking or having kids.

    but I DO pity you for being the bitter unhappy person you seem to be, at least on this blog.

  • Patrick Sean

    @MikeE: Bravo! Well said sir. I cringe coming here, not for the articles, but for the constant vile behavior the LGBT Community has toward one another. We can’t change the world when we’re such nasty people to one another. One of the most bitter-defensive-arrogant-superficial groups on Earth.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Nice couple. Good for them. Hopefully they have friends and family look after the kids so they can get a night out for themselves on a regular basis. Too many couples burn out by forgeting to spend some time rejuvenating away from their kids.

  • dnyboy

    I don’t understand the negativity on this. This sort of thing is exactly what the world needs to see, two gay fathers who are clearly just as capable and loving (even more so than) many straight couples. I realize that some people will never grow up, but seeing living proof that Gay parents are competent and cause no harm to their children in any way is a step towards understanding and acceptance.

  • Nixter

    @Merv: No they don’t! They look the same, what are you talking about?!

  • Nixter

    @Patrick Sean: So true and it pisses me off. Such ugly souls, many gay men. Ugh.

  • samwise343

    “The first year with them was complicated. They were twins, and they were crying a lot. Thank God for David. He is so good at differentiating cries.”

    What the fuck, Neil? So someone gets out of bed if twin 1 cries but not if twin 2 does? I bet David is the one shouting out for the manny to handle the job?

    Note: After reading all the nasty comments above, I felt conflicted about what I just wrote. Then I decided to take a chance and run with it. You only live once.

  • GymJockTX

    @Nixter: It’s unfortunate, but true. Kathy Griffin is right on target when she says Nobody is as vicious as we are (or can be) with each other, in our own tribe. It’s one reason I gladly self-ejected from that spiteful group known as “The A-Gays” here in TX (but alas, they’re the same in any city). Beyotches beyond compare.

  • Matt G

    With text based communication a lot of inflection and other stuff that helps with interpretation gets dropped and can cause the reader to view it as

    But yeah the gays, they got the claws, and sometimes they’re out in full force for no real reason. I think it’s like the prison mindset of if you kick someone’s ass when you get into prison at least you can show some dominance. It makes sense when we, as a tribe, are still being beaten down in ways. I personally think if there were less homophobia and more people could be out and come out with less trauma we would see less pettiness and more brother/sisterhood.

  • WOWfactor

    Never underestimate the nastiness of bitter, lonely queens when they are faced with someone else’s happiness. They stew in their own secretions and can’t stand their own miserable lives, much less soneone else’s.

  • the other Greg

    Yeah, I don’t get the nasty comments here either. All that Snapper said was, “I choose very happily to visit the nieces and nephews for an hour or two and then happily return them.”

    ??? – That’s so bad?

    Nobody here has even said they dislike kids. A couple of supposedly high-minded folks seem to admit that theoretically, it WOULD be okay if someone did dislike kids. But nobody has even said that.

    And… cue the usual pompous, mawkish bullsh*t about how the “gay community” is so-o-o-o mean to each other, blah blah blah.

    @samwise343: “What the fuck, Neil? So someone gets out of bed if twin 1 cries but not if twin 2 does?”

    Ha, interesting point.

  • taniya

    My spouse and i don’t understand this negativity with this. These kinds of matter is precisely what the planet needs to observe, a pair of gay men who will be clearly just like ready as well as loving (even in addition than) many right partners. My spouse and i understand that a number of people will not mature, although viewing dwelling substantiation in which Gay and lesbian mom and dad are usually skilled as well as bring about simply no harm to their own young children in the slightest is a phase towards realizing as well as acceptance.


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