How Do Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Make Their Marriage Work?

Neil Patrick Harris is an actor best known for appearing on TV shows like Doogie Howser, M.D. and How I Met Your Mother.

When not working, Harris is also married to actor and chef David Burtka. The couple has been together for many years now, which is an impressive feat in Hollywood. So how exactly do they make their marriage work?

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka posing together
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka | David Livingston/Getty Images

How did Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka meet?

Harris and Burtka first met in the early 2000s via a mutual friend. At the time, Burtka was in a relationship, though he and Harris continued to run into each other. Harris and Burtka began dating in 2004.

In an interview with Out Magazine in 2012, Harris shared that he and Burtka have a lot in common, though their differences also complement each other.

“When I see people who are equally attractive, they tend to seem more quiet and kind of Marlboro Man-y, and David’s the antithesis of that. He’s more like Tigger,” Harris said. “I’m, in turn, very introspective — the thinker, rather than the doer. I tend to weigh options before making decisions, and David is the polar opposite of that.”

He also added, “We’re hyper similar and also incredibly opposite. We share a wardrobe. We have the same shoe size, body size, height, and weight. We’re both Gemini. We both like the idea of family — not a nuclear family, but a social family. Yet, we’re incredibly opposite in the way we process information.”

After dating for a few years, Burtka proposed in 2007. Then, the couple got married in Italy in 2014.

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka have 2 kids

In 2010, Harris and Burtka’s family grew with the addition of twin children: son Gideon and daughter Harper. The kids were born via a surrogate mother.

In the same interview with Out, Burtka shared that he had always wanted to be a father. He also revealed that he is the “maternal” person in their relationship.

“For the first year, I didn’t miss a nighttime or morning with them,” Burtka said. “I think it’s important to have other lives and feed your relationship, but it’s also important that your children are raised by you.”

How do Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka make their marriage work?


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Hollywood relationships are not known to last very long, but Harris and Burtka seem to have defied the odds. They have been together for almost two decades.

According to Harris, the secret to their happy union is counseling. He told Life & Style in 2017, “We go to couples therapy. Not that there’s anything wrong, but it’s nice to sort of just talk to someone who is a mediator. That’s helped our relationship.”

Two years later, while celebrating their 15th year anniversary, Harris also told Entertainment Tonight (via Huffpost) that something else is important in maintaining a stable marriage.

“I think the secret to a relationship is just perseverance, you know?” Harris said. “It’s not always pretty ― but he’s pretty, so it makes it easy.”