The tall, dark, and handsome gentleman was dining with friends at Chicago’s hip Girl & the Goat restaurant when Neil Patrick Harris, going incognito in a baseball cap, spontaneously stopped by his table…and made a curious proposition. “Neil went up to my friend and said, ‘Hey, you’re really sexy. Can I give you my number?’ and, ‘Come to my hotel later,’” a source exclusively tells In Touch of the alleged encounter, which happened during the actor’s trip to the Windy City for a Dec. 8 book signing. “My friend, who’s a fan of Neil’s, told him he’s straight and said, ‘I’m confused. Aren’t you married?’ Neil told him, ‘My marriage isn’t working out.’ ”

It wasn’t just a pickup line: In Touch has learned that Neil and husband David Burtka, who’ve been together since 2004, are facing a relationship crisis. “They’re on shaky ground,” an insider close to the actor, 44, and the chef, 42, tells In Touch. And while David always knew Neil is a big flirt, “lately, it’s been more of an issue,” adds the insider. “They love each other and their kids [seven-year-old twins Gideon and Harper], but they want their relationship and lives to be more harmonious. Right now, the marriage could go either way.”

neil patrick harris david burtka family getty images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

They’re fundamentally different people. “Neil is outgoing and loves to party and go out on a moment’s notice, while David often calls himself ‘Mr. Homebody,’” explains the insider, noting
that the Emmy-winning How I Met Your Mother alum can be high maintenance and moody. “That drains David. So that’s a constant source of conflict.” (A rep for Neil denies there is marriage trouble or that Neil hit on another man at Girl & the Goat.) They’ve been dealing with their problems for a long time.

A year ago, Neil, who wed David in 2014, revealed he was going to therapy twice a week, and in April, David told In Touch that they’ve long sought a professional’s help together. “It’s not easy being in a relationship. We go to couples therapy,” David said. “Not that there’s anything wrong, but it’s nice to sort of just talk to someone who is a mediator. That’s helped.” But lately, according to the insider, “because of Neil’s schedule, the therapy hasn’t been as consistent, but they’ve been going.”

They’re also struggled to adjust to David’s decision to stop drinking alcohol last year. “I didn’t like the way I was acting, I thought, ‘I owe it to myself. I owe it to my kids, to be there 100 percent,’” David said in April. But instead of helping strengthen the family, tension with Neil only increased, says the insider: “It always does when one partner gets sober and the other one doesn’t.”

Still, divorce is a step neither of them is willing to take lightly. “They’re constantly told how much their public marriage and kids have meant to the gay community, and both take that seriously and want to remain role models,” says the insider. “They’re both decent people who love each other and their kids and are trying to work it out.”

For more on this, pick up the latest issue of In Touch — and for more exclusive content sign up for our newsletter.

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!