George Takei (Mr. Sulu, “Star Trek”) and his spouse, Brad Altman, will make TV history when they are the first gay couple to appear on The Newlywed Game, which kicks off October 12 on the Game Show Network.
We talked to Mr. Takei as he was getting ready for a weekend anniversary celebration with Altman, and he weighed in on the momentous occasion. “The fact that we have equality on The Newlywed Game is delightful. It’s the little steps,” he told us. “That’s what America is ultimately all about. All people are created equal.”
See what else the legendary star had to say about Proposition 8 (“which rhymes with hate” he told us), the show, and why he has a leg up on the other contestants.
Tell me a little about your appearance on The Newlywed Game on GSN
They tell us it’s history. They’ve never had a gay couple before so we are reaching equality on that level as well in terms of pop culture. So we’re very very happy with that. We get to show how normal and happy our 22 year relationship is. We got married last year but we’ve been together for 22 years, so we may have a leg up on the other newlyweds!
Did you watch the original series?
I did watch it. It’s been quite some time, so I’m gonna need a refresher course. I remember it as being happy, joyful, some couples loving each other but maybe not knowing each other. I hope that’s not gonna be our case (laughs).
Do you have any strategies for the show?
I have been paying very close attention to what shirts Brad favors and what shoes he likes, and in restaurants what dishes he particularly orders consistently.
You really are making TV history.
Well I think we made history on many levels. We had marriage equality here in California, which was historic. Here’s a little background on that. In 2005, both Houses of our legislature here in California passed the same-sex marriage bill. All that was required for that to become the law of the state back then was the signature of our Governor, who campaigned by saying, “I’m from Hollywood, I’ve worked with gays and lesbians, some of my best friends are,” you know, all the clichés. So we were absolutely certain that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to sign the bill. But when he vetoed it by playing to his Conservative Republican base, we were outraged by that and so we campaigned and ultimately our Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental constitutional right.
What was that like, when you were married?
We got married the summer of 2008. When 18,000 other couples got married – and we had true marriage equality in California. But then there was that Proposition 8 – which rhymes with hate – that was passed by a sliver of a margin in November. So our marriage still stands, but we want true equality because what that does is create three categories of Californians – those that are straight and can get married and remarried as often as they like. Then there are people like us who got married in that window and can never get remarried if that should be the circumstance. And there are other couples who cannot be married at all. So what this has done is actually confused the whole situation and it will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional.
Do you have friends who were not able to marry?
Yes, we had many friends who wanted to get married. They dragged their feet a little, I’m afraid. The window closed on them, and that’s why we want to make sure that we get ultimate marriage equality, which is our constitutional right. The fact that we have equality on The Newlywed Game is delightful. It’s the little steps. That’s what America is ultimately all about. All people are created equal.
In fact I sort of think our relationship plus marriage has been more stable and happy than the relationships of some of our straight friends who have gotten married and divorced and who are still fighting each other. So I think the true definition of marriage is commitment, caring for each other and loving each other.
What would you suggest to someone who might want to become involved in this cause?
The majority of people are decent, fair-minded people. It’s a matter of persuading them to cast their vote. Beyond that, write letters to their Congressman, just generally try to make America a more wonderful place.
Your anniversary just passed, how did you celebrate?
Well my grand niece has a birthday on the 13th. We took her to her birthday dinner at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. And on the next day, the day of our anniversary, Brad had to fly to New York. He just got back today so we’ll be celebrating this weekend.
How will you celebrate?
We have our favorite high-end restaurant that we’re gonna be going to. But to share my niece’s birthday and our pre-anniversary at the Beverly Wilshire hotel was a really joyous experience. She’s ten years old and studying the violin. She’s the apple of our eye. We’ve been going to her recitals every year for the past three years. She is the best out of all of the violin students that her teacher has! In fact, she was the only one that had memorized the entire Mozart piece! She’s such a bright young lady. We’re gonna take her to Lincoln Center too one of these days.
The new season of ‘The Newlywed Game’ kicks off October 12th. Other guest stars will include Edyta and Alex (“Dancing with the Stars”), Christopher Knight (“The Brady Bunch”) and Adrianne Curry (“America’s Next Top Model”), Lauri Waring and George Peterson (“Real Housewives of Orange County”) and many more.