The cover of Out magazine's second annual "Love Issue," which highlights the relationships of 13 diverse LGBT couples and families just in time for Valentine's Day, features Hollywood renaissance man Neil Patrick Harris with his "better half," David Burtka.
The photos, by Matthew Kristall, find Harris and Burtka sharing several tender moments together and may be the most intimate shots we've ever seen of the couple.
In the accompanying interview Harris tells the magazine how he met Burtka, who was already dating someone else, through a friend. "I was always around when he was around, hoping the stars would align," Harris says. "When we all hung out for the first time -- I was invited by [our mutual friend] Kate to an "American Idol" viewing party -- I just stammered around him. I couldn't take my eyes off him."
(See photos from the Out cover shoot as well as shots of the entire Harris-Burtka family in the slideshow below)
The attraction was mutual for Burtka. "I thought he was adorable, though, with these amazing blue eyes that are just hypnotizing to me," he says. "I ended up breaking with my boyfriend, and a week later, Neil and I had a date. We started hanging out every single night, and after three months, it was just non-stop. We talk on the phone at least eight times a day and text at least 25 times a day. He's my lifeline, in an amazing way. Without him, I can't breathe."
For the "How I Met Your Mother" star, the relationship came after questioning whether he would ever settle down. "I remember being in my mid-twenties, lying in bed thinking, I've never taken a shower with anyone before; I've never had any kind of long-term relationship," Harris says. "I remember thinking that the rest of my life would be solo. I wasn't weepy when I thought that -- it was just a realization that I had gone this long being self-sufficient."
But now the two men make up one of the most high-profile gay couples in Hollywood and in October of 2010 they became two of the most high-profile celebrity parents when they welcomed twins Gideon and Harper via surrogate.
"Even on that first date, we talked about kids," says Burtka, who joins E! as a correspondent this month. "If he hadn't wanted kids, I don't think we'd be together. I always thought that family was the most important thing in life, and no matter what I do, whether being a chef or an actor or a dancer, being a dad is what I do best."
Still, no matter how fairytale-esque their relationship might appear, Harris and Burtka are quick to point out that it's far from perfect.
"I don't want to paint our relationship like we met and it's been happy family fantastic-ness ever since," Harris admits. "What defines a relationship is the work that's involved to maintain it, and it's constantly changing. Sometimes I'm deeply in love with David and head-over-heels, and sometimes I question whether it's going to work out and is meant to be."
Burtka adds, "A relationship is work and it changes. And you go with the changes. It's more good times than bad times, but it's not always good. You have to overcome those issues and move on. We have a really great recipe for a wonderful relationship, but we don't want to be the poster boys for gay relationships. We're not trying to pretend that we are perfect. We're just trying -- in a good, positive, loving way -- to live our lives."
To read the full interviews with Harris and Burtka, including details on how they proposed to one another and who they named their children after, and to see more pictures from their photo shoot, visit Out.com.
Also be sure to check out Out.com in the coming days to read the other love stories featured in the February "Love Issue," including interviews with Jason Wu and Gustavo Rangel, Bill T Jones and Bjorn Amelan, and nine other couples.