Neil Patrick Harris is aging like fine wine — and he's enjoying the ride.
The actor, 49, stripped down to his skivvies for a recent cover shoot with Out magazine, and spoke in its feature interview about everything from filming nude scenes for his upcoming Netflix show Uncoupled (created by Sex and the City’s brainchild Darren Star), the complexities of digital hookup apps and how he’s embracing aging.
“I honestly feel better than I’ve felt in my whole life,” Harris, who shares 11-year-old fraternal twins, Gideon and Harper, with husband David Burtka, said of getting older. “As I’m aging, I’m feeling like I am more and more comfortable in my skin and my posture and my body. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, but in more practical terms — as opposed to ‘gym body’ for others.”
“I think for a large chunk of my life, in my body, I felt younger than I actually was,” he explained. “I often felt insecure at gyms or at parties or socializing a lot, because I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin. Now that I’m , I’m proud of my journey, and I don’t feel like it’s ending. Knock on wood, I’m still on an upward trajectory. No hip replacements, no knee replacements, no nothing. Not yet.”
Harris said his focus on "practical strength" over a "gym body" has helped him shape a healthier mindset around his physical wellbeing as well as life in general.
“I’ve always felt like life is a lot,” he said. “It is acquiring chapters in a book. I don’t want my life to be a pamphlet. I want it to be a tome. I enjoy chapters. I enjoy lines on my face. I enjoy wrinkles around my eyes. It came about because I smile a lot, so I don’t feel the need to age down at the moment.”
It has also made him more confident filming nude scenes for Uncoupled, which follows his character, newly separated from his partner of 17 years, as he steps into the world of digital hookup apps and casual sex.
“I still think it’s funny how people don’t go to bars to meet people anymore,” said Harris, referencing scene from the show. “I feel like at , I would probably take things more personally. I just didn’t realize how easy it was…when you’re that attractive, to have people send you images of their bodies. That was crazy, and I guess that’s what those apps are all about.”
He also noted, “I’m so glad that I’m doing a show like this now, because I was less concerned and conscientious [than] I probably would’ve been 10, even five years ago… I was glad that I wasn’t just the punch line of the joke when I was in bed with some 28-year-old hot guy.”
“I feel good about myself these days, and I assume that will wane,” he added. As far as how his twins feel about their dad posing in his underwear, well, that's a different story.
“If my kids happen to see pictures of me in my underwear in a magazine, they’ll just be crazy embarrassed, which is amazing," he said. "At worst, they think that I’m even more ridiculous than they already think I am.”
Harris has spoken in the past about his and Burtka's parenting styles.
"I kind of approach parenting as a 'let’s see how it goes' attitude," he said in a September 2021 interview with Yahoo Life, describing himself as a "bad cop" and his partner-in-crime, Burtka, as the "good cop."
"We’re still cops, just on different beats," he said. "If David and I parented exactly the same, the kids would figure that out quickly and how to adjust in that regard. We keep them on their toes. I’ll be hardcore about certain things, and David will be hardcore about other things. They need to know what the lines are and what’s legit 'don’t cross this line.'"
"They also need to know that with discipline comes love and respect," he added. "I mean, I think my voice gets deeper and angrier than David’s does, which is why I’m the 'bad cop.' I will say their first and middle names together, which really freaks them out. 'Gideon Scott! Harper Grace!' That stops them in their tracks."
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