Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Have a Social Media Strategy

September 13, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are celebrating four years of marriage and 14 years as a couple, but they're "still trying to figure it out."

But the pair, each successful and famous in their respective fields ー not to mention being among the most recognizable gay couples in the U.S. ー said they live remarkably "normal" lives.

That's not an accident.

By living in New York ー and not in a self-consciously "hip" neighborhood ー they largely avoid paparazzi. Since the two became parents, their routines are family-based and well-structured.

You wont find NPH and Burtka at the club these days.

"We're kind of out of the spotlight," Burtka said in an interview with Cheddar Thursday. "Because we're not that crazy, there's not a lot of attention paid, which is perfectly fine for us."

But the couple has a serious presence on social media that belies their lay-low attitude. Harris, Burtka, and their two kids, Gideon and Harper, are staples on Instagram ー where their increasingly elaborate Halloween costumes have attracted a major following and spawned guessing games (Harris wouldn't even give Cheddar a hint of what's to come this year).

And the family's social media presence isn't just for kicks. It's part of a calculated effort to normalize their reality: that not all families look the same.

"It's nice for the world to see that there's two guys living in a world with two kids, and we're like everybody else," Harris said.

The family posts about their meals, homework troubles, and the first day of school.

"It's nice to see that we're at the same place as everybody," Harris said. Representation without a soapbox, he called it.

And like other parents, Harris and Burtka admitted they struggle with balancing tech and family time.

Beyond a "no screens at the dinner table" rule, the kids have to "earn iPad time" on the weekends. But it's not always easy. There are games that help build cognitive ability, math skills, problem solving ー not to mention VR (Harris said he picked up an Oculus Go and loves it) ー and it's "tricky" to regulate screen time when there's an element of learning.

Still, as Burtka said, too much tech, especially too early in the day, has obvious consequences.

The kids are "crabby" and irritable, "they're not able to grasp life and reality as much," he said.

For full interview click here.