‘How I Met Your Mother’: Neil Patrick Harris Secretly Pushed for Barney and Robin’s Relationship

Neil Patrick Harris is well known for many things — his work in stage productions, his popular movies, and, perhaps most notably, his starring turns on several TV shows. Harris rose to fame as a child actor for playing the title character in the series Doogie Howser, M.D., and while he went on to receive critical acclaim for his skills as a dramatic actor, it is as a comedian that Harris has really shined. The popular television series How I Met Your Mother earned Harris legions of fans all around the world, and even though the show went off the air in 2014, it is still beloved by people of all ages. 

Neil Patrick Harris earned acclaim for his work in ‘How I Met Your Mother’

Neil Patrick Harris smiling
Neil Patrick Harris | JC Olivera/Getty Images

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Harris was born in New Mexico in 1973. He was a good student in high school, eventually graduating with honors in 1991.

Harris first started acting when he was a child, after making waves in a drama camp in New Mexico. In 1988, Harris made his big-screen debut in the movie Clara’s Camp, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. The following year, Harris began starring in the television series Doogie Howser, M.D. The series shot Harris to national renown, and he became one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars.

As Harris grew into adulthood, he continued to choose roles that surprised and delighted fans. All throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, Harris worked as a character actor, appearing in movies such as Starship Troopers and the Harold & Kumar film series.

In 2005, Harris began acting in the TV show that he remains best known for, a comedy-fantasy series called How I Met Your Mother. Harris once again received critical acclaim for his work in the series, earning a total of four Emmy Award nominations. 

Barney and Robin’s relationship surprised fans

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How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom that follows the character of Ted Mosby and his circle of friends, all of whom live and work in Manhattan. Harris featured prominently in the series, playing the charming womanizer Barney Stinson.

While How I Met Your Mother featured many comedic moments, the relationships between the friends are what formed the heartwarming backbone of the series — notably, the on-again, off-again romance between Barney and Robin, played by Cobie Smulders.

Over the years that How I Met Your Mother was on the air, fans watched as Barney and Robin went back and forth, playing with each other’s emotions and eventually getting married. At the end of the series, viewers realized that the two ended up divorcing — but through it all, they remained close friends. 

How did Neil Patrick Harris push for Barney and Robin’s relationship?

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Harris was one of the biggest supporters of the relationship between Barney and Robin, with all its complexities. In a 2013 interview with Fan Carpet, the actor admitted that he did what he could to give little nods to their budding romance throughout the seasons.

“I’ve been actively trying to make that happen. I talk to the writers and I was pitching it, and I’d try to do little things in our scenes together where I gave her an extra look and an extra glance or would stare only at her during a whole scene just to see if anyone was noticing,” Harris stated. “We had good chemistry. And I love doing scenes with Cobie, she’s super fun. She’s Canadian, you know. They’re cool.”

Fortunately, fans noticed as well, and ultimately, the relationship between Barney and Robin became one of the show’s lasting legacies.