For the Power of Pride issue, Variety talked to eight LGBTQ couples in entertainment about their love stories. To read more, click here.
As Sulu on “Star Trek,” George Takei could travel at the speed of light. But when it came to traversing by foot, he wasn’t so fast.
In the 1980s, Takei joined a gay club called the Frontrunners, and he was struck by the fastest athlete in the group, Brad Altman, whom the actor recalls as “dashingly good-looking.” Takei made the first move, and he later asked Altman to train with him for a marathon.
Soon, they were doing 5K and 10K runs together. “We also loved theater,” Brad recalls.
At the time, George was famous for “Star Trek.” But as a closeted gay man, he didn’t think he could be out and star on a hit TV series. “I was never identified publicly as George’s boyfriend or partner,” says Brad, who has been in a committed relationship with George since 1985.
“I was silent, and it was totally against my character,” says George, who notes that he was always vocal about his beliefs, including protesting the Vietnam War. “The one cause that was the most personal to me, I had to stay quiet on because I wanted my career.”
In 2005, George finally spoke his truth. He publicly came out as gay and introduced his fans to his partner. When the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage in 2008, the two wed that year. “We were married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles at the Democracy Forum venue,” Brad says.
Their wedding party included the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, whom George had befriended when both were on the board of governors of the museum. And there was a touch of “Star Trek” on the guest list: Walter Koenig (who played Chekov) served as their best man and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) as their best woman.
“She said, ‘If Walter can be the best man, why can’t I be the best lady?’’’ George says with a laugh. “We wanted to reflect diversity in our wedding and that’s what I remember — the powerful diversity.”
Brad and George have been together for 35 years. The secret to that longevity, according to George, is “We truly are a team — me as the actor, writer, activist and Brad as the manager, scheduler and all-around essential guy. And we love being able to share our lives and our livelihood.”