It’s been more than three decades since George Takei and his husband Brad first got together, but the happy pair is making up for plenty of lost time in the public eye. They spent 20 long years hiding their relationship out of fear that George would lose his career over his sexuality. “There we were, living together and not being able to share that with the rest of the world,” the beloved Star Trek actor told The Big Issue in 2016. "I had to stay silent on the subject which mattered most to me.”
That all changed in 2005 when George came out to Frontiers magazine. Now, we're taking a look back at all of the milestones they've shared since, from their stint as the first gay couple to appear on The Newlyweds Game to George's sweet Father's Day confession.
- George and Brad have been together since the 1980s.
- They kept their relationship a secret for 20 years.
- George’s fellow Star Trek cast members participated in the pair’s wedding.
- The pair never had kids, though George recently admitted that he wishes they would have.
1984: Mutual Attraction
The two men first laid eyes on one another way back in the 1980s at an LGBT club called LA Frontrunners. “Brad was a runner and I was a runner, and we both happened to join a gay running club,” George explained of their meet-cute in 2017. “He was the best runner in the club. And also great-looking.” As Brad told Howard Stern in 2020, the feeling was mutual. “George was a hot guy, too!” he gushed.
It was George who ultimately made the first move, however. “I went up to him and asked him to train me for my first marathon,” he remembered. “Before long, we became partners.”
Early 1990s: Joining Forces
Brad moved from finance journalism to become George’s business partner in the early 1990s, as he revealed in a 2019 podcast with the couple. “Eventually, I helped George with some of his public relations, press releases, and various projects. He needed somebody to help make sure that things got accomplished so that he could be a visionary and artist and I could do the detail work—and it sort of gradually evolved that I became his business manager,” he explained.
October 2005: Out and Proud
George made a splash in 2005 by coming out to Frontiers magazine. He reportedly told the Associated Press of his decision: “The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.”
May 16, 2008: A Dream Come True
Just one day after the California Supreme Court lifted its ban on gay marriage, the actor announced his plans to marry his longtime love on his website. "Our California dream is reality. Brad Altman and I can now marry," the message read. "We are overjoyed! At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down. We are equal with all citizens of our state!"
He later shared their engagement story on his podcast, Oh Myyy Pod. “We were having lunch at home and the news came on that the California Supreme court this time ruled in favor of marriage equality," he recalled. "I have my mouth full, but suddenly Brad slipped out of his chair and was on the floor, and he said, ‘George, will you marry me?’ And I said, ‘You beat me to it, I was gonna ask you!’”
June 17, 2008: Going to the Chapel
The couple wasted no time obtaining a marriage license, with George telling People of the landmark event, “we are, first and foremost, beyond delighted!”
The happy day turned out to be one for the books. “I started singing ‘One Singular Sensation,’” George revealed to the publication of their special moment. “[Brad] said ‘I love you,’ and I looked at him and said, ‘I love you.'”
September 14, 2008: They Do
On September 14, 2008, 21 years after they first got together, George wed his life partner at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. According to NBC, the ceremony featured elements from many cultures, including a Buddhist priest, Native American wedding bands, and a Japanese kopo harp and bagpipes. The ceremony also featured a few intergalactic friends from George's past—his Star Trek pals Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols, who served as best man and best lady, respectively.
The outlet shared a snippet from George’s handwritten vows to his spouse: “I vow to care for you as you’ve cared for me… and to love you as my husband and the only man in my life.”
February 22, 2009: A Public Affair
After years of keeping their love under wraps, a newly married George Takei and Brad Takei held hands on the red carpet at the 81st Academy Awards.
October 13, 2009: A New Frontier
The same man who once played a space captain conquering the final frontier on television blazed a new trail of his own with Brad in 2009. The pair became the first openly gay contestants to compete on The Newlywed Game since its inception more than 40 years earlier in 1967. “We’re the first one, same-sex marriage, that’s going to be seen like that,” George told the Associated Press of the milestone episode. “To get on The Newlywed Game, hopefully, will demonstrate to many of those decent, fair-minded people out there that, you know, our wedding is not unlike all the others.”
2011: 2 Become 1
Two years after tying the knot, Brad officially changed his last name from Altman to Takei. George later told Access Hollywood that though he suggested that his spouse hyphenate his last name, Brad felt like the actor’s surname suited him. “I argued with him on that,” George told the outlet, adding, “He wanted to become a Takei.”
January 28, 2014: Their Big Screen Debut
George’s fans got to know his other half in 2014, when the lens turned on the couple for the Apprentice alum’s documentary, To Be Takei. More than introducing admirers to his significant other, however, George said the film served as a tool for activism. “The mission statement was to allow access into our private lives to show fair-minded Americans that a same-sex couple, this is like everyone else in our culture dominated by opposite-sex couples,” he told The Wrap of the project. “Maybe if our doc showed we’re just like everyone else, just the same gender, maybe fair-minded people will think twice about wanting to discriminate against the LGBT community.”
November 14, 2014: A Shared Honor
The couple was honored with a shared International Vanguard Award for their LGBTQ+ advocacy work in 2014. While sharing the stage with his husband, George took the opportunity to express his love for him, saying, “and I really truly feel blessed, most blessed, because I have the love of this wonderful guy. He’s my husband, we’re married, but we’re also professional partners in life. We build our lives and our career together, and I feel so blessed in having him and I feel very blessed to be gay.”
April 7, 2015: Behind the Scenes
The lovebirds invited America into their homes once more in 2015 with a web series called It Takes Two that showcased them sparring over internet memes, cheering each other up, and channeling their inner Samantha and Darren from Bewitched.
May 30, 2019: Love and Understanding
George reflected on having one of the most successful relationships in Hollywood to Out in New Jersey in May 2019. “It really isn’t a secret,” he said. “In any marriage, there is give and take. At first, there is lust, and it turns into love, then it turns into comfort, especially when you have been together for 33 years. It’s making the loving compromises.”
While the real-life Captain Hikaru Sulu conceded that the two had gone head-to-head before, he believes that even their arguments have ultimately made them stronger. “You gain something from those differences also,” he explained at the time. “If I just cut it off and said, ‘OK, that’s it,’ then I haven’t learned anything. From the compromises, you think to yourself that, ‘Yeah, life is better with this understanding.’ I think that you grow as a person—both of us do.”
June 4, 2020: Dynamic Duo
In a joint interview with Variety in June 2020, the twosome revealed how perfectly they complement each other in their day-to-day lives. “We truly are a team—me as the actor, writer, activist and Brad as the manager, scheduler, and all-around essential guy,” George explained. “And we love being about to share our lives and our livelihood."
August 18, 2020: Just the 2 of Them
George melted hearts the world over on Father’s Day 2021 when he admitted that being a father was a goal left unachieved on his bucket list. “One of my biggest regrets was never becoming a dad,” he tweeted at the time. “In my generation, coming of age in the 50s and 60s, it just wasn’t something very available to gay men, even in couples.”
One month later, he elaborated to Howard Stern, telling the talk show host that he and Brad had indeed wanted to grow their family at one point. “We wanted a child, but back then we couldn’t get married, there was no security we would offer, and we thought it would be unfair to the child,” George explained. By the time society became more open-minded, the couple felt they were too old to be dads, cementing that it would be just the two of them on their family journey.