VIDEO: George Takei Shows Off a Nude Painting and Rings His Husband Brad’s Bell
Actor, author, and longtime Stern Show announcer connects with Howard from his Southern California homeAugust 18, 2020
“Star Trek” legend George Takei allowed Howard to boldly go where few men had gone before on Tuesday morning as he welcomed the Stern Show into his Los Angeles home for the very first time. The wide-ranging interview was rife with precious moments and revelations, from how he and his husband Brad still hold hands while they watch TV to what exciting projects the 83-year-old actor, activist, award-winning graphic novelist, and beloved Stern Show announcer has on the horizon. But the conversation took a turn for the surreal early on when Howard asked him how his younger half was spending his morning.
George wasn’t sure what Brad was up to—so he summoned him.
“We bought a single-story house … It sprawls all over. His office is on the other end of the house and so we have this system here,” Takei explained as he picked up a nearby bell and gave it a healthy jingle.
Brad entered the frame just a few moments later, much to Howard and co-host Robin Quivers’ amazement. “Oh my goodness, it works!” Robin exclaimed.
Like so many great partnerships, Brad and George’s is a unique and multi-faceted one. Whereas George spends a good deal of his time pursuing his artistic enterprises, Brad takes care of most everything else around the house. The bell allows George to summon him if, for example, he’s craving a bowl of soup and a cooked vegetable.
“I’ve been doing the toilets for 35 years, Howard,” Brad said.
Octogenarians like George are at an increased risk of suffering the effects of COVID-19, so the two have taken every precaution possible since the onset of the pandemic.
“We are in complete quarantine,” George said, explaining they wear masks when they go for walks and only visit with other family outside and at safe distances.
They even asked their housekeeper not to come in anymore (while graciously continuing to pay her). Brad’s to-do list has grown longer as a result, but he’s apparently not too keen on sharing the load.
“I don’t like George to do the housework because he’s lousy at it. The only thing George can do is talk,” Brad said.
“George, I hope you treat this man like the prince that he is,” Howard said.
“I do,” George responded.
“No, he doesn’t,” Brad corrected with a laugh, adding George sometimes complains about everything from under-ripe bananas to overheated soup.
“What a pampered man,” Howard laughed. “George, shame on you!”
“He insists on doing it,” George laughed. “He’s very possessive and controlling and dictatorial.”
Brad may be the one keeping things neat and tidy, but on Tuesday his artistic side was also on full display. He apparently posed for a nude portrait some years ago which now hangs on the wall in their bedroom.
“It is a painting of Brad when he was young. He was a runner—he was like a thoroughbred,” Howard told Stern Show fans. “It’s Brad with an erection.”
“It’s not an erection,” Brad clarified.
Regardless of whether the hand on Brad’s clock was painted at six or at 12, the masterpiece inarguably highlighted his impeccable physique. George told Howard the two were all over each other back then. “I was ravenous,” he said.
“George was a hot guy, too!” Brad said.
“Oh, I know. I saw him in that ‘Star Trek’ episode where he had his shirt off!” Howard laughed.
Another thing on display Tuesday was Brad and George’s unquestionable love for one another, but Howard wondered just how their epic romance had begun. The two met in a gay running club, though George wasn’t out at the time.
“We were all closeted then. It was a silently understood compact,” he explained.
George and Brad went public with their relationship in 2005, nearly 20 years after they started dating. One of the things that inspired George to come out was the protests that followed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoing a same-sex marriage legalization bill in California. “I was raging,” George recalled.
Despite being a widely regarded actor, he still feared the ramifications of openly discussing his sexuality. “I was prepared for my career to be over,” he told Howard.
Howard wondered about the origins of their relationship from Brad’s perspective. “When did you realize you had to have George sexually?” he asked.
“At the end of the Los Angeles marathon on March 5, 1986,” Brad responded without hesitation.
“That’s not the way I remember it,” George laughed. He said they first got physical while he was recording additional dialogue for a guest spot on “Miami Vice.” “One thing led to another and we started wrestling,” he continued. “I think that was the best dubbing job I did.”
“Were you nervous George was this big star from ‘Star Trek’?” Howard asked Brad.
“I lived in Los Angeles. I worked in the Hollywood area. He was just another unemployed actor,” Brad said to a chorus of laughs.
George certainly isn’t struggling to find work anymore. In recent years, he’s appeared on “The Twilight Zone” reboot, starred on the acclaimed horror series “The Terror,” and lent his voice to countless animated projects. More recently, his Broadway musical “Allegiance” got the box set treatment and he also nabbed an Eisner Award for “They Call Us Enemy,” his graphic novel recounting his family’s interment during World War II. Even during quarantine George has managed to stay busy. He’s currently rehearsing via Zoom for “Silver Foxes,” an upcoming production about LGBT seniors.
“It’s hilarious but it’s also a human comedy,” George said, explaining the play contains several parallels to his real-life relationship with Brad.
Brad admitted the two wrestle a little less often these days, though George said their sex life is “just as delightful and much more relaxing.” Despite the decline in frequency, George told Howard he’s not interested in supplementing his performance with Viagra. In fact, he never even takes aspirin.
“We are resilient animals and we have it within ourselves to overcome,” George said.
And overcome they have. The duo said they still get frisky at least a few times a month, usually on Sundays.
“We take care of each other,” Brad told Howard with a smile.
Brad and George’s love story has spanned multiple decades. At one point, they considered having children but it never came to pass.
“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 said, explaining by the time it became easier for gay couples to start families they felt like they were too old to raise a child.
Another decades-long relationship George discussed on Tuesday is the up-and-down one he’s had with his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner.
“He’s an elderly man now,” George said of his former on-screen starship captain. “The charitable instinct in me is coming out and I’ve decided, you know, I’m going to be kinder to him … It’s an ancient Asian tradition to respect our elders and I’m going to show him a little, maybe not respect, but some kindness.”
“Bill, I appreciate you. I appreciate the character you’ve created. I appreciated your longevity and may you enjoy the rest of your very long life,” he later said.
The “Star Trek” talk didn’t end there, either. George memorably portrayed Hikaru Sulu on the series and a few years back he and Brad decided to celebrate the iconic character by traveling to a spot called Sulu in the southwest Philippines. Not only was the island vacation a blast, but it also resulted in Brad snapping pictures of George while he enjoyed himself at a nude beach.
“If he gets out of line would you release them?” Howard asked.
“Yes, that’s why he’s been with me all these years,” Brad joked.
“That would be cause for divorce,” George said with a laugh.
Jokes aside, Howard couldn’t help but marvel at George and Brad’s heartwarming relationship. “The two of you are amazing,” he told the couple. “I feel you are an inspiration, not only to the gay community, but to the community at large.”
George Takei’s graphic memoir “The Called Us Enemy” is available now.