Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard cover People: ‘We definitely had to work really hard’

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are hustlers who have been talking about their marriage problems for years to get headlines. As I always say, they’re experts at creating content. They just covered Parade Magazine a couple of weeks ago and they’re covering the new issue of People, mostly to promote their baby line with Walmart. In People, they tell a couple of the same stories they gave Parade, about how they met and how they work on their marriage, but they give enough new details to make it reportable. They don’t dump 15 new stories on us like Jada Pinkett Smith and Will, they give about 2-3 for variety and to space it out. We talked about this in our second podcast, it’s from minutes 28 to 31. Here’s People’s first article about this, there will surely be 3-4 more with different details because that’s what People does with cover stories.

“We definitely had to work really hard at being a couple because we’re both incredibly, painfully stubborn, and we’re pretty much opposites,” Shepard, 44, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s cover story, on stands Friday…

“I was like, ‘That’s the best personality I’ve ever seen on a woman. I need to be around it,” recalls Shepard. “I want to be around it when I’m 80, but how?”

The answer was trust and honesty plus “a little couple’s therapy” — and a very meaningful compromise.

Knowing Shepard didn’t believe in marriage, the Bad Moms actress had accepted she would never be his wife.

“He has a great argument that the state having a piece of paper doesn’t mean he’s going to be nice to me and by my side for the rest of my life. [Rather], that is going to be evidenced by how we treat each other and the commitment that we make,” says Bell. “I had surrendered, like ‘Okay, well, I’m never going to get any sort of traditional marriage out of this, and that’s okay because I trust him.’ I really, really trusted him and believed that we were going to go the long haul.”

But Shepard knew how much marriage meant to Bell, and “ultimately, I was like, ‘Well, I’m doing it because my partner wants that,” he explains about proposing in 2009. “Forget the tradition or history of marriage as a concept, you knowing I was doing something that I didn’t want to do because I loved you was a big sign for you.”

After their intimate, courthouse nuptials in 2013, the couple — who often buck tradition — did feel a greater sense of security.

“It just felt more normal. We do a lot of things differently, but there’s a couple things where I’m just like, ‘God, can we not just fall inside the lines once in a while? I want to wear a pretty piece of jewelry. It’s fun!’” explains Bell. “It felt nice afterwards…

“All these movies from the ’80s taught us that it’s love at first sight, and it is supposed to be easy and [that] all you have to do is find that person,” says Bell. “It took me a while to realize, ‘Oh, that was such a lie,’ because things that you work really, really, really hard for always yield the best results.”

[From People]

The new segments are where they admitted breaking up, although Dax talked about that in a roundabout way on a podcast and Kristen admitted on a talkshow that she used to pick fights and storm out, but they’re putting a different spin on it. Only people who follow gossip slavishly know this, and even forget some of their anecdotes. They also had a different explanation for why they didn’t get married before they did it, because they initially said they weren’t going to marry until it was legal in California for same sex partners. That may have just been how they publicly described it. However Dax did propose in 2009 as People reports, they just waited until after DOMA passed. They’ve talked about how their marriage is work for at least 6 years though.

DaxKristenPeople

Embed from Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

55 Responses to “Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard cover People: ‘We definitely had to work really hard’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Wow says:

    Okay, my marriage is very little to no work. I don’t think I could muster enough energy after work to do more work.

    I’m more of the mindset that if you are constantly working on a relationship like a chore… its probably not working.

    I know people who complain about arguments with their spouse several times a week, man I do NOT have the time or energy to live that life.

    • Tiffany says:

      But…..they came into this relationship with their own baggage.

      It is work, for them. His sobriety and her anxiety, even the most patient, even keel of people could have a breaking point. They do have to put in the work and they seem to love each other enough to do it.

      • MamaT says:

        yes! this. I am a nightmare of a person. My husband has his own issues. we’re married 18 year and still going strong but it’s work because *WE’RE* work.

      • Wow says:

        We all have baggage. I’m not going to sit here and Normalize dysfunctional relationships that are “work”. Its not healthy mentally and it in many cases breaks down the other person. Work on yourself and being the best version of yourself in your relationship, but if you are creating a relationship that is “work” then you are not loving your partner.

        Also, please don’t paint relationships with addicts as excessively more work and struggle because of baggage. Plenty of recovering addicts can be in loving relationships without emotionally terrorizing their partners and creating constant dysfunction that needs never ending work.

      • Tiffany says:

        @Wow. Slow your roll. I did not paint them as excessive. I was going by how they describe themselves.

      • MamaT says:

        @bell – I’m not saying that we’re dysfunctional. In fact, several people who are close enough to truly know us have commented that we have a marriage that they look up to.

        What I mean is that I know that I can be cranky, argumentative, and when I’m right I need you to acknowledge that I’m right (all more than the average person I think) and I’m very Type A now now now while he internalizes things while they brew and often takes things out on me when I know it’s work or something else that’s really bothering him but is a very laid back Type B person.

        So being respectful, considerate and all the other traits that make good relationships aren’t something that are first nature to either of us. It’s something that we both have to remind ourselves of but we both know how we operate so it works for us. Most of the time, we each overlook each other’s bad habits.

        We also acknowledge that our behavior, long term, probably isn’t “healthy” for the relationship so we have to “work” at things.

        So, for me, I “get” them having to work on things. It’s more of an acknowledgment that, yes, I can be difficult so I do try to be a better person, but day to day…eh…we are who we are. We always love and respect each other but our personalities are our personalities and they don’t always match up.

      • Melody calder says:

        Im inclined to think a lot of the work is staying connected too. They are gone from each other for work alot. Absence doesn’t make the great grow fonder, it just creates distance and makes it easier to be apart. You have to work to keep the relationship connected

      • Ange says:

        I mean, they were in couples therapy when they’d only been dating three months. If you’ve had to start working on it at three months in and have been working on it the whole time that’s just exhausting nonsense. My husband and I haven’t lived together in over a year and we have to work at it less than these two. Marriage is going to be hard here and there but if it’s constantly hard because of who you are and not what challenges are thrown your way maybe you’re not compatible?

    • TheHeat says:

      I’ll start by saying that I’ve been with my husband for 23 years…gotta show my cred. ;)
      I think that the off-putting word in the equation is their use of “work”. Saying that it’s work gives the impression of being forced to do something you’d rather not do in order to receive something. That’s what’s wrong.
      My husband and I put “effort” into our marriage, not work. We show appreciation. We pick up each other’s slack, when necessary. We communicate by celebrating our victories, and figuring out our challenges. Sometimes that means that we need to let the other know when they’re being a $h!t-head…because who else is going to care enough to do that? LOL!
      “Work” indicates mundane. “Effort” indicates worth.

    • Janie says:

      I was in a relationship for a very long time (broke up bc we moved to different countries for our careers; we still visit each other at least once or twice a year). We both came into the relationship with a lot of issues. I was recovering from PTSD when the relationship began and he’s bipolar/schizotypal.

      It never felt like work. There was never crazy drama or fights that ended with one of us storming out. A relationship shouldn’t feel like work. It definitely takes effort but in a good relationship, putting in effort should feel easy most of the time.

      Their relationship sounds exhausting. If I was either of them, I would file for divorce.

  2. Cay says:

    Bell gave a totally different story to Marc Maron on his podcast about why they got married. She said neither of them were interested in getting married but they did it so the children could have married parents, or something like that.

    She stated in an interview recently (again) how codependent she is. You would think after this many years of therapy, she would realize codependency is something to break free from rather than be proud of.

  3. lucy2 says:

    I really like her, and appreciate that they’re both willing to talk about mental health, therapy, etc, but…enough.

  4. Sash says:

    I kind of doubt their relationship is as happy as they say considering they’re constantly oversharing and admitting how much hard work it is. Marriage is work but it shouldn’t be a constant ordeal.

    • Kebbie says:

      I kind of think it’s the opposite. They’re both so dramatic, it’s probably not half as hard as they dramatically proclaim.

      They are the kind of people that love therapy and talking about themselves and their relationship ad nauseum. They’re enjoying themselves when they do this.

      • Case says:

        Oh man, I know people who love therapy and talking about themselves and their relationship to no end. They’re exhausting, and they’re just like Dax and Kristen. These kinds of people are just obsessed with themselves and constantly discussing their “drama” as if it’s not the same kind of ordinary sh-t we all deal with.

      • Sash says:

        That’s fair! Good point.

    • Nancy says:

      Every time I see this woman, which is too often, I think of pinworms. She is an over-sharer, tmi kind of a person.

  5. Steff says:

    This is the 9820485th time they’ve said their marriage was hard work…

    • Anna says:

      Right? I always feel sad about couples whose first statement about their relationship is “it’s hard work” like…not trying to be all gooey romantic and head-in-the-clouds but it just seems like some people work so hard to make it work that…is it really working? (lol that sentence makes sense to me anyway) I aspire to be in a partnership that is smooth, compatible, and uplifting, even through difficult times. There’s so much one has to deal with in the outside world and as a Black woman, if I have to put in so much work to the relationship to make it happen and survive, I just don’t know how given everything else I have to deal with to survive day to day…

      • jjva says:

        Anna, I left a marriage last year that was sapping me so much that I didn’t have anything left for the outside world. Like I didn’t have the emotional energy to go to my job, I was barely present for my kid, my relationship was THAT much work. I’m in something now that sometimes requires effort from me, patience, me to be my best self — but the vast majority of the time I am with this person we are filling each other’s buckets up, he is not draining me endlessly. Sometimes there is gonna be work, you are gonna have to overlook someone’s bullshit and they are gonna have to overlook yours. But your comment really struck me because I was definitely in a relationship that took so much energy I barely had any left to survive day to day. And the difference now is amazing.

  6. Shannon Malcom says:

    I can see where they kinda bug sometimes, but I just finished binging the first season of ‘The Good Place’ and I love Kristen Bell now. So I’m okay with this now. I used to find them really annoying though lol

    • Kebbie says:

      The Good Place is awesome. She’s fantastic as Veronica Mars too. I loved her on Parks and Rec and Party Down also, but she’s A LOT in real life. Definitely a fan of her work though.

  7. Silver Charm says:

    Between his podcast and her hosting Kimmel and her Ellen segments they’re hustling hard for a talk show.

    • Hmmm says:

      Well what else do they have? I have never seen him in a movie. What is his job ?

      • lucy2 says:

        He’s an actor who has been in a bunch of movies and shows, including the whole series of Parenthood. I think he has a new show starting soon too, I saw a commercial the other day.

        She works a lot too, I don’t think they’d have time for a talk show. I think they’re just oversharers, and trying to promote various things.

      • Kebbie says:

        She’s currently starring in The Good Place on NBC, filming Veronica Mars for Hulu, and Frozen 2 comes out in the fall. Along with this baby line and endorsements like Samsung. She probably would try and fit a talk show in if she could, she hustles with the best of them.

        He’s got a podcast where he interviews his celebrity friends and a new sitcom on ABC coming out in April.

  8. Laura says:

    These two annoy the s#$& outta me. And I agree with the previous posters who said that if they’re constantly talking about how much work it is, maybe the relationship isn’t the best.

  9. Shelley says:

    They get on my last nerve.

  10. Darla says:

    I get exhausted just reading about all the work their marriage takes. Good reminder not to marry.

  11. Usedtobe says:

    I used to really like them both, separate and together.
    Now, I cannot stand either of them in any form. They are exhausting and overly annoying and I’m sick and tired of hearing about them and of them and them.
    Basically, I am over them.

    Sidenote: Is it just me or over the last couple years have her eyes gotten more beady and tiny. It hit me when I saw Bad Moms Christmas that her eyes look so much smaller than they already were. I just saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall and her eyes were not this beady. (Hell, I don’t even know if I’m spelling beady right.)

    • Kebbie says:

      It’s because she’s gained weight and her face and cheeks have filled out. She had a fourteen year old’s body and face until she had kids. I don’t think she’s using fillers, but they have the same effect.

    • Harryg says:

      Yes, she had more beady eyes and he has more lizardy eyes. And they go like blablablaa, blablablaa, blablablaa, Samsung, marriage, blablablaa.

  12. dota says:

    The were just in Parade magazine too, so they must already be divorced-to-be or something as they are just too over the top with all of this.

  13. Case says:

    I rolled my eyes so hard when I saw they’re on the freaking cover of People talking about their marriage YET AGAIN. How is discussing a marriage they’ve been in for several years worthy of a cover, especially when they’ve been saying the same thing about it for many years? Yes, relationships take work. All relationships take work (or at least effort) — between family, friends, significant others, etc. But these two are so obsessed with themselves and their coupledom that I honestly doubt it’s a real issue for them.

    I like it when celebrities share some things about themselves, but when you’re trying to become more famous based on your personality instead of your established, successful work, there’s a real problem there.

    • Kebbie says:

      She is single-handedly keeping him relevant and purposely making him part of her brand, or “their” brand. She’s funny and talented, and she’s played great characters. She doesn’t have to be so OTT about her marriage all the time. This is obviously just who she is at her core. They have to be together because nobody else would put up with them.

  14. Mash says:

    i kinda feel her on the wanting to get married and him not….i was in that current situation….so we will compromise and go to the courthouse. But we’ve been together almost 2 years and its not work at all….we have our arguments but they are rare as we made a pack to never disrespect, storm out, and hurt each other. so far so good

  15. Deanne says:

    While I really appreciate her body of work, I can’t with either of these two anymore. Who cares about their marriage enough for it rate a People cover? They never stop talking about it and over share about everything on a daily basis. It’s just the same regurgitated crap over and over again. I get it that they came into the relationship with their own sets of baggage, but who doesn’t? They both seem to be desperate for a talk show where they can give uneducated advice to others and feed their obvious deluded belief that a they know the formula to keeping a relationship together. All relationships are work whether they be a marriage, at work, friendship etc, but they make theirs sound like it’s completely exhausting.

  16. Molly says:

    Dax said on his latest podcast with Gwyneth Paltrow that he feels a responsibility to show behind the curtain of their marriage and how much work it actually takes. Their brand the last few years became #GOALZ with Buzzfeed articles and cute dishwasher commercials of how adorable they are together, and he felt compelled to be transparent about it.

    Now, whether or not that was true, necessary, or their actual motives for this latest publicity push are TBD, but that’s the spin he’s taking.

  17. Milkweed says:

    I wonder what their therapy bills are like.

  18. Jaded says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, my relationship with Mr. Jaded isn’t work, it’s like 2 best friends living together and respecting each other. Even if we have a bit of an issue we just talk it out calmly, no drama, no yelling, and come to an agreement. His ex is unstable, untrustworthy, neurotic and childish and that relationship was a ton of work so I guess it’s luck of the draw and don’t marry too soon like he did – marry in haste, repent at leisure.

  19. Crystal says:

    I married my soulmate and best friend. For 9 years I would have said exactly what so many of you have said- if it’s that much work then it isn’t meant to be. Then a bombshell was dropped on me that he was dealing with addiction. My life was completely turned upside down. We chose not to throw the baby out with the bath water and work through the issues that he has together. He has received treatment, I’ve gone to individual therapy and we’ve done couples therapy. It has been work, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still soul mates and deeply in love with each other. EVERYONE has some kind of baggage that they carry around and it affects us in different ways, sometimes it affects your marriage. Congratulations to all the rest of you in your ivory towers who have perfect marriages!! The rest of us who have dealt with shit and come through it stronger commend you, you are so much better than us (sarcasm)! I appreciate their transparency.

    • itspurplespice says:

      No marriage is perfect if it is more than 2 weeks long. Some are perfect for even less than that. All this “if it’s so hard just walk away”, “I don’t have the energy” bs drives me crazy. Anything worth having is worth working for. And ANY relationship is work. Don’t feel bad about your shit, Crystal. Everyone has it, some of us are just more honest than others.

      • Crystal says:

        Thank you so much @itspurplespice – I appreciate that! I totally agree, that anything worth doing takes work. It would have been so much easier for me to just say “he messed up, I’m done” and walk away. I chose to support him for better or worse according to the vows we took because I hope that he would do the same for me if I were ever in a similar position, that’s what marriage is- sometimes it’s hard and messy and wonderful at the same time. We are the “golden couple” that look like we have the most perfect life… even people with seemingly perfect lives and relationships deal with thing that are traumatic and unexpected, and it doesn’t take away from the love that is there for each other. I commend Dax and Kristen I’m working at their marriage, especially since we live in a throw away society with an extremely high divorce rate.

  20. HeyThere! says:

    I appreciate everything they say and do because sometimes relationships are work. Both parties have to decide its worth working on and do the dang work! Now, that being said, my marriage is not hard work. We work in a way that we make an effort to cuddle/sexy time, leave sweet notes for eachother in random places, we are very much that annoying couple that is always seeming to be in the honeymoon phase all these years, and kids, later.

    I highly recommend everyone to read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman! Not everyone speaks the same love language and it helps to open a line of communication about it! Clear communication is everything!

    • Crystal says:

      I think I might be able to shed a little bit of light on this. my husband is my best friend, my soulmate and we spend WAY more time together than most do. We don’t get sick of each other, we love cuddling, talking working together, traveling together, you name it. We are soulmates and even have a phenomenal life in the bedroom. Despite all of these things, sometimes the unexpected happens and it turns everything upside down. For us, the work comes in when dealing with addiction and how it has impacted our life, and the unintentional, deep pain that it has caused. The work is in each of us being the best version of ourselves to clearly express ourselves to one another and deal with very complex emotions in a mature way. The work is realizing that addiction is not something that you snap your fingers and it’s gone, it’s always there looking over your shoulder. The work is regaining trust, maintaining transparency etc… snuggling, going on dates, doing loving things for each other are all the easy parts. Addiction has a domino effect on a family- it is hard, but so worth it to put the effort in. I have an enviable life and relationship, those closest to us would be shocked to know what we’ve been through. For me this is all far too fresh and painful to discuss openly with those who know me so I commend them for being open about their relationship.

  21. Jay says:

    Seeing everyone’s comments about their own positive, affirming relationships in this thread was really nice to read. :)

  22. Angie says:

    I personally find it weird when people are too open about their difficulties. Of course you can say marriage is sometimes work- duh, it is for everyone- but I don’t want to hear the specifics of marriage issues from people I don’t know. That stuff is private. I will sometimes talk to a close friend or sister if I’m frustrated, but it’s rare and usually just shows me I need to talk to my husband. Of course therapy is fine and being honest can be good, but, I don’t know, privacy matters too and marriage is intimate and between the two people in the marriage.

  23. Morrissey says:

    I think Dax is in the category of dangerously stupid; he thinks he is so enlightened and intelligent and it’s up to him to educate (mansplain to) the rest of us, so we can be as informed as he is…except, he advocates for other dangerously stupid people, and doesn’t listen when facts are laid out. His podcast has been a who’s who of people who should not be given any further airtime.
    I want so hard to just like Kristen, since I also am a mass of anxiety, but I don’t think she’s so much better than her husband. I wish them a lifetime of happiness – that I never want to have to hear about.

    • Shelly says:

      OMG thank you for saying this. A few years ago he was going on and on about gun control. He made some idiotic remark comparing preventing gun deaths to people being able to prevent themselves from getting cancer. My dad was going through cancer treatment at the time and I lost it. Never smoked, never drank, ate healthy, yet he still got cancer. Dax was such a jerk about it and kept insisting that somehow cancer is completely preventable. I have loathed him ever since for being an arrogant, know it all, insensitive man child.

  24. Ehhhh says:

    Can they stop? Please stop. Every month Kristen would do an interview about their married life. Okay we get it, you have to work very hard on your relationship. Can you move on instead of repeating the same thing over and over again.

  25. Emily says:

    I get Anna Faris/Chris Pratt and Jenna Dewan/Channing Tatum vibes from them. The oversharing and publicizing of their marriage can’t be a good thing.