George Takei reveals the time he and Donald Trump debated gay marriage over lunch

Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Yahoo Celebrity

George Takei is one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken critics (and in Hollywood, that’s saying a lot), often lambasting the president on social media over everything from his controversial immigration policies to his apparent siding with Vladamir Putin instead of U.S. intelligence agencies when it comes to Russian election interference. There was a time, though, when the 81-year-old Star Trek icon aspired to work in Trump’s ranks.

“I have a checkered past,” Takei laughed during a recent stop into Yahoo Studios to promote the new app TraceMe, a social media application that connects fans with celebrities and athletes (watch interview above).

Takei was a contestant on the Trump-hosted Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, and though Takei lasted only three episodes, he used the opportunity to confront the future politician on his views about gay marriage.

“Donald Trump had made a statement being opposed to marriage equality,” Takei said, referencing a stance Trump took the first time he flirted with a presidential run in 2000. So at a press conference promoting the reality TV show, Takei invited Trump to lunch to discuss the issue. To his surprise, Trump eventually accepted.

Over the course of that meeting, Takei attempted to convince the businessman that embracing the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York could provide an economic upside for his real estate properties. “He said, ‘Yeah, that’s true, but I believe in traditional marriage.’”

Trump was already on his third “traditional marriage” at the time, having wed current first lady Melania Trump in 2005. “And all through those marriages, he was famously unfaithful,” Takei said.

But Takei, who married his partner of over 20 years, Brad Altman, in 2008, bit his tongue. “I said, ‘Yes, and I believe in traditional marriage too. Traditional marriage is two people who love each other deeply and profoundly, and want to spend their lives with each other.’ He said, ‘No, no, no, no, no. It’s a man and a woman.’ I said, ‘No, it’s love and commitment to each other. That is what makes traditional marriage.’

“So we went back and forth, and agreed to disagree on what traditional marriage means.”

Watch Takei talk about his involvement in the new social media app TraceMe:

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