Dax Shepard relapsed, sounds more worried about his podcast partner than Kristen

A couple of years ago I covered a story in which Dax Shepard explained the moment he decided to stop drinking. He was sitting in an airport bar, miserable, right when his career was taking off. At that moment he realized that he had a million dollars in the bank, but that all the money in the world did not matter when he felt terrible like that. Sometimes, when I’m tempted to downplay my sobriety (four years this July), I think about that. It’s a powerful story and brings home the point that being sober is worth more than just about anything.

Dax revealed in the last episode of his podcast, Armchair Expert, that he had been buying and taking extra pain pills after his prescription ran out following his recent motorcycle accident. He described how his addiction got out of control and how he got sober again. As of the recording, he was still sweating so much from withdrawal that he had to sleep with a towel and change it in the middle of the night. If you want to listen, the part where he realizes he’s addicted again starts around 11:30 into that episode, 7 Days. His podcast producer, Monica Padman, was the one who was administering his prescription pills to keep him from abusing them. She’s the first one who noticed that pills were missing, that he was not himself and the first one to question him about it. He tried tapering down on his own and was not successful, and finally sat down with Monica and his wife, Kristen Bell, to tell them about it.

Prior to this Dax had about 16 years of sobriety, although he had a slight relapse around the time of his father’s illness and death. That was about 8 years ago. He took some of his dad’s pills following a motorcycle injury around that time. He talked about that on the podcast too. It doesn’t sound like he was as far gone then, but he was trying to manage it like a lot of addicts.

Dax said that he had been addicted for about 8 weeks this latest go-around and that, prior to the podcast releasing, he had told Monica and Kristen about a week and a half before. He had 7 days sobriety as of the recording. I listened to this entire episode and the thing that struck me was how parenthetical Kristen was to this conversation. It was as if Dax’s co-producer, Monica, was his partner instead. I understand that she’s his business partner and records with him but it was striking. He only sounded concerned about Kristen in a business sense, when he said he was worried that she would be asked in interviews about his addiction.

I don’t regularly listen to this podcast, I’ve heard about one full episode before. I highly recommend Dustin Rowles’ coverage at Pajiba for a thorough analysis. Dustin listens to Armchair Expert and he says that the real issue is how enmeshed Monica, Dax’s podcast producer, is with his family. She’s been quarantining with them, she often takes care of their kids, and she’s somewhat of an enabler for Dax’s narcissism. She kept congratulating him and kissing his ass throughout this podcast. I also really like Dustin’s assessment of how Dax and Kristen protect their kids’ faces and that’s about it. They put seemingly all of their business out there, and this is a doozy. There’s also the question of whether this jeopardizes Dax’s sobriety or will help hold him accountable.

On one hand I question how sustainable Dax and Kristen’s celebrity business model is. It does not seem wise to be so open about their relationship problems, about the embarrassing things their kids do, and about their deep personal issues like Dax’s relapse. At least they’re both on the same page in valuing headlines as celebrity currency. I do wonder how compatible they are as partners vs. as a celebrity couple.

All that said, it takes some level of bravery to be as open as Dax has been and I hope he can stay sober. His story has moved me in the past and I think this part of his journey will help a lot of people struggling with opioid addiction. I’m an AA dabbler (it’s very male-oriented in my area and too Christianity-based for me) but I’ve never gone to a meeting where someone’s story hasn’t resonated with me.

Oh and I’m not posting it but Dax Instagrammed a photo of Kristen peeing in their car. He did that.

He also said he felt bad about the fact that he accepted his sobriety birthday cake while he was not sober. My main question about this was why is he going to in-person meetings at this time?

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123 Responses to “Dax Shepard relapsed, sounds more worried about his podcast partner than Kristen”

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  1. Who ARE These People? says:

    He’s not well and the family needs help right? The non alcoholic beer sipping was a clue.

    • Züri says:

      That’s a great point and takes on additional meaning now that we know about Dax’s relapse. I’ve been trying to figure out their relationship dynamic with Monica for a while. I really enjoyed Dustin Rowles’ article– thanks for posting– and the fact that he calls out this group to deal with their shit because it will not end well. It rarely does. Like the article, I only listen when I like the guests, and even then, Dax has become really insufferable. (the Vivek Murthy interview is incredible)

      • Lauren II says:

        Just read the article. Dax is a selfish nightmare. Kristen probably likes Monica around all the time to babysit Dax, so she can focus on making an income for the family. I couldn’t live with Dax, no matter how much d*ck energy he supposedly has.
        I feel like Kristen is trying to keep their family together, save their “brand” and keep the $ flowing. If they get divorced, Kristen will be supporting Dax forever financially. He is an irresponsible, rude a**hole.
        Kristen often looks sad, and i hope she is well for her children’s sake.

    • Seraphina says:

      When there is an issue with substance abuse and the family turns a blind eye to it, yes there are issues. And the story of the Odouls came to mind as soon as I read this headline. They all need help ASAP.

    • Sa says:

      That’s a pretty big leap to say that non-alcoholic beer, which presumably he’d been drinking for a while, was a clue that he’d get addicted to pain pills after an accident.

      • AMM says:

        I agree. My grandpa has been sober for 30 years and has been sipping O’Douls for all thirty of those years. If it’s something Dax has done for a while, it’s not a warning sign.

      • KL says:

        They’re probably referring to the fact his very young children regularly enjoy his non-alcoholic beer and even order it at restaurants, re: “the family needs help.” It was a story discussed on Celebitchy recently, where some people argued that was normalizing a potentially dangerous substance given the kids’ genetic history via their dad.

      • AL says:

        Serious question though – O’Douls is not completely non-alcoholic (it’s 0.5% ABV). For an adult, it’s probably negligible but for kids? They are so tiny and they process food and sugar and everything else so differently…and it’s illegal to buy if you’re under 21 so how do restaurants sell it to kids?

      • KL says:

        @AL depends on the state and their liquor laws. There are often different, less stringent rules regarding service in restaurants that serve food along with alcohol. Throw in the “well, they’re with their parents” and the celebrity factor — especially celebrities who make a lot of their money through social media and family-friendly branding — and yeah, I can see how proprietors might turn a blind eye if, say, the dad “orders” two non-alc beers and passes one to his kid.

    • Sb says:

      Right? I’ve been clean and sober 17 years. Drinking non alcoholic beers is a slippery slope. I personally stay clear of that stuff. To thine own self be true. ❤️

      • guilty pleasures says:

        @Sb, congrats on 17 years, I just celebrated 10 years. I agree that ‘non-alcoholic’ beverages are a slippery slope for many of us. I’ve heard the story so many times, ‘I was fine with O’Doul’s, obviously I can now handle a light beer.’ The story then turns tragic.
        For me, and most people I know, it is important not to trivialize sobriety. If I were allergic to nuts I wouldn’t trifle with a teeny bit of peanut butter.
        I listened to this podcast yesterday, and the story is one I have heard before, trying to hide a relapse is disastrous. We say that we are only as sick as our secrets. A few months ago I was struggling with something and my husband’s prescription Oxy called out to me (he passed from cancer and I hadn’t disposed of his meds). I immediately called my sponsor and a friend to have them hold me accountable to take them to the pharmacy the next day.
        I also wondered who Monica was, as she was clearly not someone familiar with the tenets of sobriety, but was sooooooo close to Dax.
        My final question is around the whole ‘anonymous at the level of press, radio, and film,’ piece. People who are in AA tend to steer clear of making themselves a face of sobriety, because it can result in exactly this sort of conflicted response to relapse. It can also create an ‘I told you AA doesn’t work’ response for someone the program may have helped.
        On the other hand (and isn’t there always another hand?) people who are open about their struggles with substances can be so inspirational for someone who needs to identify with someone who has overcome a similar life crisis.

      • minx says:

        Congrats to you! My husband is 35 years sober, I have so much admiration for him.

      • Meghan says:

        Congrats on 17 years! I just celebrated 3 years clean, and Dax’s relapse has resonated with me. I like Kristen but am generally meh on him. A year ago I had major dental surgery and tried to ask for a non-narcotic option for pain but of course was prescribed narcotics. Luckily I have a strong support system, was able to take them as prescribed and when asked if I was still in pain at the follow-up appointment, honestly told them that I was not. It seems silly to be proud of that but I am.

  2. Soupie says:

    Re the lack of mask:
    I walk my dogs every morning at a park in Southern California where there is an AA meeting at 6:00 a.m. every single morning of the week. They sit under a large ramada and socially distance. Some of them wear masks, some don’t. Dax is probably attending an outdoor meeting.

    At another local park nearby adolescents are playing softball again and there are birthday parties going on etc. People are not wearing masks. I don’t see any masks on any of the athletes I don’t see many masks on people walking their dogs. California’s virus cases are going down. We are still wearing masks in stores and medical office buildings but that’s about it. (And gyms need to re-open NOW.)

    • Brittney B says:

      Cannot imagine sharing such personal stories in a public, open space like that… anyone could plant recording devices, eavesdrop, take photos, etc… it might be outdoors somewhere, but I truly hope it’s not in such a public place.

      • Soupie says:

        Well it is, and they are there every day… Nobody lurks or stands nearby. Lots of respect given.

      • Brittney B says:


        I’m saying I truly hope Dax’s meetings aren’t in such a public place if they’re outdoors. Celebrity AA meetings come with lots of added risks.

    • Snowbunny says:

      This is really interesting to hear about these outdoor meetings, but it would probably be a bad idea for others’ anonymity if a celeb or paparazzi-target attended.

    • Megs283 says:

      There’s an empty building behind my house and it has a large parking lot. It’s also semi-circles by trees and is rather private. Groups have been holding meetings there since April
      or so, and now it seems like there are meetings every night.

      There aren’t any celebrities, as far as I know, but us people in the neighborhood have a distinct lack of interest in what’s being said.

    • Kkat says:

      Gym’s DO NOT need to reopen in california. They are hotbeds for spreading sickness in good times. The exertion and forcefully breathing out droplets and the sweat flying which also carries covid makes gym’s the most unsafe of all.
      I’m in Southern California and I call the hotline daily to report the gym’s around me being open against the mandates.

      Just like fing disneyland and Knotts berry farm need to stay closed.
      The numbers are starting to skyrocket in various parts of europe and asia right now and paired with flu season and everyone being inside when it gets cold shortly, we will be in big trouble/

      • Kebbie says:

        I can’t imagine even wanting to be in a gym right now. Reminds me of those Florida protestors who did push ups outside a courthouse or something to protest the gyms being closed. Exercise can be done anywhere. In my state there are a lot of socially distanced exercise classes outdoors in parks and even parking lots. There is absolutely no need to be in close proximity to strangers breathing heavily in an enclosed space.

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        Kkat, I also love how FL, one of the hotspots for the last 4-6 months that has one of our village idiots as governor, like TX where I am, is opening everything up! It’s a free fall of a Petri dish for an explosion of infections/lack of masks/deaths. They will be filling to the brim with snowbirds, lived there for 2 years, and they won’t be able to control or maintain the spike in infections and deaths. We have some of the dumbest people in this country who feel violated to wear a mask as if their civil liberties are at stake. I am sick of the ignorance and refusal to listen to Dr. Fauci, since this is his field of expertise. They would rather kill off thousands of Americans with lies than stand with science which doesn’t suit their priorities of the statements of our POS president.

  3. fch says:

    that whole family dynamic is odd

  4. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Monica Padman was their nanny before she was his podcast partner. She then became Kristen’s writing partner and then Dax’s co-host. I listened to both of the podcasts that Kristen was on awhile ago where they talked about their relationship and BOTH Kristen and Dax rely heavily on her. To the point that Kristen started crying at the idea of Monica no longer being around. I feel like both Dax and Kristen are co-dependent when it comes to Monica.

    • Summergirl says:

      Monica is totally dependent on them too. She wouldn’t have a career without them. Perhaps she is of more use behind the scenes as a producer, but my husband and I find her totally useless during the recorded interviews. She adds virtually nothing of value. Her enmeshment in their marriage is really bizarre, even more so when you take into account that she has virtually no romantic experience of her own (I think she called herself practically a virgin), which she talks about in her podcast about dating.

    • Kate says:

      I read that pajiba article and it says that Dax has some kind of narcissistic personality disorder – is that a known fact or something the writer is assuming? If so then it makes even more sense why they might have this codependent dynamic. Monica provides his narcissistic supply of adoration and support so that Kristin doesn’t have to. Also, if this is true he is likely extremely difficult to live with and having a third party around all the time would put him on good behavior around his family – at least while she’s there. If the writer was just using that as a turn of phrase to say that Dax is very vain and arrogant then that’s totally different from NPD.

      • Kebbie says:

        The writer got a lot of criticism in the comments from people who listen to the podcast for saying that, so no, the writer just diagnosed him with that from afar and made it sound like it was a known fact. I googled Dax Shepard and NPD and the only thing that came up relating the two was that article.

      • Emma33 says:

        My mum had NPD and died of alcoholism last year. She only started drinking late in life, probably cope with her mental health issues.

        A mental health nurse at the hospital explained to me that mum was caught in a vicious cycle – she could never admit she was drinking and get help because her NPD wouldn’t allow her to admit she had made a mistake and needed to ‘course-correct’.

        So, she was in denial about her drinking right up until her death. I could be standing in her bedroom with empty bottle of brandy all around the bed, and mum would tell me she never drank. It was pitiful, absolutely pitiful.

        True NPD is a life-threatening mental illness. People who have it aren’t just a bit narcissistic and self-absorbed – they are deeply damaged people who have little empathy, live in a different reality, and can’t feel shame (because they are ALL shame).

        Dax may have NPD, but his ability to acknowledge his addiction and course-correct suggests not. People with NPD are one of the hardest group to treat for addiction – they usually require many rehab stays before they will really acknowledge there is even a problem. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Dax.

      • bananapanda says:

        It’s a complicated podcast to comment on and I actually admire that Dax has created something so conversation worthy. He really delves into hard topics and opens up emotionally about society’s pressure of men in a way most guys won’t admit (looking at you Jackass crew).

        I don’t think Dax has NPD. What he has is a really bad unstable childhood that led to serious drug and alcohol problems. This sort of stunted him in terms of ideas, schooling and healthy relationships. Monica is pretty young (I cracked up when she fact checked the Triple Lindy dive) and clearly adores both of them but she does speak up for herself. I the podcast is her way of stretching her wings and slowly carving out a career path of her own.

  5. Megan says:

    I have a few thoughts on this triangle but I’ll hold back as I think this is really an important story about addiction/relapse/recovery that needs to be told. Sobriety is a long road and it’s important that people see how easy it is to fall back into addiction, especially in this strange time of isolation, I’m actually really glad he’s being so open about this. My heart goes out to everyone dealing with addiction themselves, or a loved one battling it.

    • Embee says:

      I agree with you that the story of relapse is an important one and I personally benefitted from it. I sincerely believe he refrained from discussing Kristen out of respect for her and to protect her from how his words about her would be twisted and misconstrued in a way that she would have to face for literally years to come. Monica’s involvement in their lives is clearly a manifestation of her needing to belong, and making herself invaluable so that she won’t be discarded. She has copped to this before and they need to find a healthy way forward. Also going to point out that the reason this situation has worked for them is that it basically requires two women to fulfill the roles we expect a woman to fill as a partner, mother and employed person. Or three, because Dax’s sister is heavily enmeshed in their lives as well.

      • KL says:

        I’m not sure about that last point re: expected roles. While I understand wanting someone you can trust, people in their tax bracket regularly hire professional nannies or sobriety coaches — this is not a case of not having better options or examples to follow. Ultimately, the Shepard and Bell have to admit they’re choosing to employ people for whom it is more than “just a job” for a REASON. Honestly, even the limited info they choose to share shows a very worrying lack of boundaries between the personal and professional. That’s bad enough for anyone, but for a recovering addict? Yikes.

        also @Megan: maybe don’t paint the contributions of a woman of color as something other than labor that deserves a wage, and hire a nanny?

      • Megan says:

        Thank you for articulating how we really do need more than one women to fulfill all the duties a wife/mother is supposed to do, or at least feels responsible for fulfilling, I could use a Monica in my life and marriage, I suspect most of us could if we’re being honest!

      • Adream says:

        @Embee I completely agree with the multiple roles Dax needs to support him. I think that could be exhausting – and they have found someone who can take on some of those roles. Why should a wife have to be caregiver, and AA support and co-producer on top of her own career? That’s a lot- if another person wants to help out – like people joke about a “work husband” or work wife” great if its all defined. Now whether there are some blurry lines being crossed and the optics of the whole triangle, that’s another story…

    • Megan says:

      @KL- sorry, What I was trying to say was that personally, I could use another woman to help in my life- be it my mom, a sister or yes, or an employee (if I could afford it), I feel like I’m expected to do too much in my household And family life, that’s all

      • KL says:

        Absolutely, and that’s understandable. But I think a lot of people are confusing that understandable wish with a potentially abusive situation where the line between paid employee and family friend is all but erased, and the “helper” ends up doing too much herself — or at least expected to fill contradictory roles. (I’m not sure how you can act as your employer’s own sobriety coach, for instance.)

  6. Lucy2 says:

    While I definitely think they over share, this sounded important to him to come clean with his listeners and hold himself accountable. I wish him a lot of luck in his recovery.

    I don’t really get the dynamic in their family though. I stopped listening a while ago, he was getting on my nerves, but it did sound like there were some odd boundaries there. Monica said some thing about knowing he was using, but being afraid to tell Kristen and “get him in trouble”. That’s…not good.

  7. Alissa says:

    I am sorry he relapsed. I’m sure it’s very hard for all involved.

    and yeah, the whole thing with Monica and Kristen is bizarre. I’m pretty sure they’re a throuple. which is fine and their business, but she probably shouldn’t be their employee then.

  8. JT says:

    And so many people in the comments about his children regularly drinking and ordering o’douls thought is was ok. I feel like most of the comments on here I agree with, but wow, that day was an eye opener. So many thought it was ok normalizing alcohol in that way amongst his children. With his history of addiction those girls should have never started drinking a non-alcoholic beer at their ages. While his children were drinking o’douls, he was relapsing. Both Dax and Kristen should have never allowed that to happen. I’m also curious as to why his producing partner noticed he was off and not his wife.

    • Polly says:

      I think vilifying alcohol is also weird. Lots of cultures drink fermented beverages at different ages but america is real weird about it and we treat the addiction deplorably. Really? Let go and let God basically. There are so many other paths to recovery or sobriety but america is pretty puritanical about it and makes it a moral failing as opposed to a chemical dependency.

      • JT says:

        I don’t believe that children under 10 should be chugging down non alcoholic beverages like kool aid. Those drinks still taste like beer and I don’t think it should be ok. At the very least Kristen should’ve kept that little anecdote private. Does normalizing alcohol really mean allowing kids to get a taste for it at such a young age? Is that helpful at all?

    • I'm With The Band says:

      I believe he mentioned in the podcast episode that he was gaslighting her, so in all likelihood, Kristin may have sensed something but he’d brush it off as if she was imagining it all.

      I really, really enjoy his podcast. He has some very interesting guests and although some people find him to be insufferable, I think he has incredible insight into his own strength s and shortcomings, particularly how brutal addiction is for him. His candour is refreshing, that’s for sure.

      Although, I’m with most other people here in so far that also normalising alcohol around children and teens is dangerous and a very, very slippery slope. It just shouldn’t be done at all. I’m currently having this issue with my partner, who is normalising drinking with his 16 year old daughter. Kids will always drink amongst their peers, and we can’t stop that. But a parent needs to teach them boundaries, because they sure as shit won’t learn that from their peers.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Maybe you shouldn’t make your producer serve as a nanny to your kids just because she’s a woman of color. I’m sorry but that is weird and gross to me. Also, why is your producer responsible for helping with your sobriety and doling out your pills? It’s called boundaries and this seems exploitative.

    I don’t think a woman should be pressured to do what her job doesn’t at all call for or involve. What else, is she supposed to make his coffee?

    • KL says:

      I’m not sure if it was because she’s a woman of color? But yeah, it sets off alarms for me, too — the idea of surrounding yourself with people who are too intimately enmeshed in every aspect of your life to get perspective, or feel like they can call you on your crap without putting multiple income streams in danger… not to mention the question of where they’ll sleep that night. Shepard seems pretty well-liked, but I’ve seen those setups in really exploitative and toxic situations before, and it just screams someone building their own tight-knit cult of personality to me.

    • Pauline says:

      The three of them are best friends. They do everything together. And they’re very open about their co-dependent relationship. The podcast started well into their established relationship. There is more nuance to this scenario then your analysis.

      • Sigmund says:

        Except she is still employed by them and relies on them for her livelihood, so any “nuance” present is completely overtaken by the completely uneven power dynamic. It’s toxic and ripe for abuse.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s not the situation, as far as I know. I believe she started out as a babysitter/nanny, and then moved into producing the podcast with him.

      It does seem like there are some boundary issues though, and she is/was being tasked with things she shouldn’t be, such as the prescription management.

    • Kebbie says:

      The nanny became the producer, not the other way around. But everything else, I agree with.

  10. Mtec says:

    “he says that the real issue is how enmeshed Monica, Dax’s podcast producer, is with his family. She’s been quarantining with them, she often takes care of their kids, and she’s somewhat of an enabler for Dax’s narcissism. She kept congratulating him and kissing his ass throughout this podcast.”

    This is what I was trying to say the last time I spoke about Monica, Dax and Kristen. One of the reasons I stopped listening to their podcast was when I hear that enabling dynamic, where Monica would literally support anything Dax said even when it was awfully wrong and offensive. The worst was when they had Casey Affleck on and she and Dax went to lengths to try and excuse the abuse he had committed. It’s not a healthy dynamic at all. I haven’t listened to the podcast in a long time, but I also didn’t like how Dax would always make these inappropriate comments about Monica’s body and how Kristen even admitted once she resented Monica for wanting to stop babysitting and follow her career goals. It’s just so messed up.

    • Elaine Stritch says:

      Monica regularly talks about having a crush on both Afflecks and she’s the one who said “sometimes women lie!” I think that one was all on her…

  11. Murphy says:

    I noticed that there wasn’t much mention of Kristen either, but then he briefly mentioned Philip Seymour Hoffman and insinuated how easily he could have gone down that same path and I thought he was choosing not to kind of…go there, with “there” being the pandora’s box about how this affects/could affect their nuclear family.
    But that was just my interpretation of the single podcast episode, I’m not a regular listener.

  12. julia says:

    THANK YOU! I too am in recovery, but I always said that AA was male based, and no one agreed with me. Of course, most of them were men. I never felt comfortable walking in to a room alone, they would always pounce. I had a few men get pissy and give me the silent treatment if I didn’t take the seat beside them. And you never know who is a “13th stepper” (someone who preys on the newcomer for more than just sharing and supporting). I LOVE men, but the atmosphere in those rooms was so old school it made my skin crawl. It’s not helpful if your anxiety is peaking just at the thought of having to go to a meeting.

    • tealily says:

      Yikes, that sounds bad! I hope you’ve been able to find an alternative that works better for you.

    • MM2 says:

      Agreed. AA was made to be male centered & it’s obvious in the 12×12. There is an amazing book “A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps” that I highly, highly recommend. It takes the value in the program & packages it for the lives that women lead. I attend women’s meetings, which is open to anyone via zoom, so if you’re in a different part of the world, look for a women’s meeting in a liberal city (it’s less likely to be religious & instead focuses on spirituality). We read a Woman’s Way in one of my meetings & it’s been so helpful, especially during this horrific era.

    • Celebitchy says:

      When I complained to another woman about a guy OPENLY creeping on me in AA during a f’ing meeting she said her sponsee had the same issue with that guy but that I had to put up with it. I told her that he’s a creeper and I absolutely did not. The other members even the women did not call him on it.

      • MM2 says:

        This is such a dilemma & one that I’m pondering now with a friend who has a guy from a meeting getting her digits from the phone list, asking her out & saying it’s “okay if she drinks with him”. I think women can start changing things, while pulling male allies in, & the safety of all members should be of the upmost concern. The old days of women being creeped on without care should be eliminated. I frequently ask myself how things change the fastest & it’s from the inside. I’ll call those men out, warn other women & those guys should find an all male meeting, if they can’t handle being around women respectfully. Creating safety committees in meetings can help with this. We matter just as much as men & our sobriety is just as important.

      • Ang says:

        I hated AA for all those very same reasons. I only did it for 1.5 years and 6.5 years later I’m still sober. You don’t need those rooms full of creepers to stay sober. I’m also an introvert so AA meetings were excruciating for me in general.

    • SomeChick says:

      There are numerous groups for sobriety support beyond AA. Many do not have the religious overtones, for starters. And there are options for participating without having to go somewhere in person. Worth checking into.

      As far as rehab centers, it’s important to know that there are scientology centers, and also “referral services” that exist to funnel people into scientology centers. Asking the right questions about their programs and policies can make it clear whether or not they are part of scientology.

  13. detritus says:

    When I read the post about her daughters celebrating his sobriety it seemed like something was up.
    I didn’t know about their entanglement with the producer/nanny but my gossip sense is tingling. There is more here than a pill relapse.

  14. Veronica S. says:

    Blunt opinion: He’s either having an affair with her that Kristen has resigned herself to for brand reasons or they have an open marriage that Kristen accepts but doesn’t want out there openly. Either way, it’s clear she crossed the friend/professional companion threshold into something uncomfortable more awhile ago.

    I’m glad he’s talking about this. More people need to be open about addiction as a lifelong struggle. I just hope his wife and kids are getting therapeutic support as well, since living with an addict comes with its own potential trauma no matter how hard they work to maintain it.

  15. Ariel says:

    Congratulations on 4+ years of sobriety. It is a BIG DEAL!!!! A gift and a miracle and a lot of damn hard work.

    When i read about Kristin (who i LOVED on Veronica Mars and The Good Place) and Dax talking about their relationship, i think about how- not all relationships have to be *that* hard. Sometimes all that hard work- it is exhausting, and a sign of incompatibility.
    I mean, all relationships require work, upkeep, adjustment, communication, but some days/weeks/ months, they are easy and comforting and what make you feel safe.
    It shouldn’t ALWAYS be so difficult.

    • Gunna says:

      The thing that’s always struck me is that even when they talk about the good times, it doesn’t sound that great (even though they really, really lay it on thick trying to make it sound great).

      The first few times I heard them going on about what hard work their relationship is I assumed they must be one of those couples who have intense highs and lows. Though it’s usually unhealthy, I can understand why people try and make that work because the highs in a relationship like that are amazing. The way they talk though, it seems more like they just bounce back and forth between being at each other’s throats and having a ok-ish, partly functional relationship. It baffles me why two young, successful people with options would put so much time and effort into occasionally having a few enjoyable weeks together.

  16. Case says:

    I remember commenters on an old thread on here saying that they felt like Dax and Kristen were holding Monica back by making her so essential to their lives — I think she was nannying for them while trying to make it in Hollywood, right? But now they basically won’t let her leave? I could be wrong because I don’t listen to this podcast, but I think I remember that conversation coming up before. We already know they’re an odd, extremely incompatible couple and this just adds a layer of weirdness to it. I find them so offputting.

    Good for him for holding himself accountable, though. I wish him the best in his recovery.

    • MF1 says:

      Yeah, it seems super unhealthy how they’ve made her career so centered on them and their family. To grow in her career, she needs to be able to pursue outside opportunities while still making money from her core projects (writing & podcasting with them). But that’s not going to happen because they’ve set up a system where she’s isolated.

  17. Slowdown says:

    There is no Hollywood household that doesn’t have a PA, a nanny etc in there all the time with firm NDAs. The difference here is that Dax and Kristen seem to try to be “normal” and befriend their staff – which is probably a recipe for catastrophe for the employee in question. I highly doubt they’re a threesome or that there is anything sexual there. They just have a hard time with boundaries which they consistently prove with stories about their kids, the couple etc.
    Re: the non-alcoholic beer, I think Kristen’s subconscious was trying to thrill her something and she didn’t listen at the time. There is no other reason for that particular story to emerge, even for oversharers like her.

  18. Lunasf17 says:

    I’ve read for years that they have an open marriage /swinging dynamic and I’m guessing Monica is involved somehow. Maybe a throuple situation? Since they appeal so much to the minivan midwestern mom set they aren’t going to be open about it.

    • Brittney B says:

      According to Dax, this is his first relationship that ISN’T open. He talks at length about polyamory and cheating and previous open relationships, and often asks his married/committed guests if they ever have the urge to cheat. That theory is definitely plausible… but I also expect it’s a little more sinister than that.

  19. Milkweed says:

    All 3 of them need to step away from each other.

  20. Jules says:

    This all sounds so messy… I’m sure more will leak out as time goes by.

  21. Katy B says:

    Individual AA groups are responsible for determining whether they are meeting in person or not at this time. My homegroup has been wearing masks and distancing since July, but I’ve only been attending by Zoom since March.

    I too, had issues with the male dominated rooms. That being said, a strong female sponsor and good group leadership makes all the difference. FWIW, my group also outright rejects any Christian influence, such as ending with the Lord’s Prayer, precisely because it is spiritual, not a religion-based program.

    Good luck in your continued sobriety journeys!

    • MM2 says:

      All of this! Every meeting has their own group conscious about meeting in person & how religion is used. I attend women’s meetings & the one co-ed meeting I attend was started as a safe group for LGBTQ, so it has a safety committee & we hear a lot of shares about rejecting the patriarchy that bleeds into almost every facet of our lives, including AA. It’s a valuable program, and the fellowship you choose is so very important. There are a lot of meetings out there, check them out & find the right fit. Luckily with Zoom, even more kinds of meetings are at our fingertips.

      Congratulations on your sobriety & Celebitchy’s almost 4 years!!!! It’s possible & life is better on the other side <3

  22. Lala11_7 says:

    The OPTICS of this…is messy AF…and as a AMERICAN BLACK WOMAN…this don’t SIT right with me…for a WHOLE LOT OF HISTORICAL REASONS…that are…NOT…GOOD!

  23. lola says:

    I’m sorry he posted a pic of her peeing in his car?!?! WTF

  24. Kate says:

    Real question: is it generally encouraged to celebrate recovering addicts’ anniversaries and milestones like that with the sign/card from the kids as if it’s a birthday? On the one hand I get wanting to show your support and pride in your loved one’s recovery, but on the other hand does it kind of add extra shame to the addict or encourage secrecy if they are struggling or ever fall off the wagon?

    • Merricat says:

      Those anniversaries are hard-won and deserve to be celebrated. Every addict knows that shame and secrecy are the result of addiction, and that relapse will likely happen. Those are difficult facts.

      • Kate says:

        Got it. So it’s like celebrate the anniversary but the mentality isn’t that they are only worth celebrating as long as they are sober.

    • guilty pleasures says:

      @Kate, my kids acknowledge my sobriety through cards, flowers etc. One of my favourite tokens is a little coloured clay trinket my daughter made that says ‘Happy Second Birthday mom,’ I wish I could include a pic of it!!

  25. Hildog says:

    Congrats to you on four years and I wish him nothing but the best. I went through the ups and downs (lots and lots of downs) of painkiller addiction over the past 12 years and only got everything under control when I got pregnant in March. To anyone who is struggling with opioid addiction, it sucks but there is hope! Seek bupenorphine therapy it helped me immensely. Sending love to all my people in active addiction and recovery. Except Don Jr of course.

  26. Joy says:

    I could see him being one of those narcissts who needs multiple wives but the wives can have only him.

    • Kebbie says:

      I don’t listen to the podcast or really know anything about Monica, but your comment makes me wonder how he/they would feel if she got into a serious relationship and pulled away from them. Eventually she’s going to want more for herself than to be the sounding board and support system for the Bell/Shepard family. They sound pretty possessive of her time and energy.

  27. Caroline says:

    I’ve listened to the podcast for a long time, and I fully expected this to happen when he had his accident. Recovering addicts really should not be on *any* painkillers for this reason, and those that are committed to staying sober usually refuse them bc they know this. That said, I’m sure all of this has been hard and when you’re in actual physical pain and there’s a way to suppress it, it’s doubly hard to resist for an addict. I hope he gets better.

    Re: Monica Padman, she does not strike me as someone who is being held back in any way. She started nannying for them, yes, but so do a *ton* of actors and writers while they are trying to start their careers. The most recent example is D’Arcy Carden, Bell’s castmate and Emmy nominee for The Good Place, who worked for Bill Hader. Monica parlayed this job into becoming Bell’s assistant, then her writing partner, then podcast co-creator and co-producer w Shepard. By all accounts, they welcomed, encouraged and compensated her for all those roles. That does not sound to me like someone who is being used, but it is certainly closer to a family-type dynamic that is rife for complications and lines being crossed when one of the “family” members is a paid employee. IDK how this ends but Padman seems like a genuinely sweet person and I hope it’s not bad for her.

    Finally, I’ll just say that at the end of the day, not everyone is going to like or appreciate what this couple is putting out and that’s OK. I certainly would not share my dirty laundry the way they do, but no one can say they don’t hustle. Maybe they do it so they’re not stuck for long periods together or maybe they just like being busy. But whatever I think doesn’t matter, it’s their life.

    • Slowdown says:

      Exactly. Everyone here is judging this couple as if they were the friends next door. The family dynamics in Hollywood are very different than our own. There is a lot or some staff always around, including, in some extreme cases, hairdressers, 2 PA’s etc. Lots of young actors, screenwriters and the like start of like this – beats waitressing. It’s the same with filthy rich people. They have nannies and cooks, and are used to having people in the house. Heck no one here watches Succession?! But I agree that these two seem to have a problem with setting boundaries which can be a nightmare for the people working with them. Hopefully not.

      • KL says:

        I don’t care if someone lives next door to me, on a private island, or whatever. Asking someone who works for you in a separate capacity to monitor your pill intake, when you are an addict in recovery? Is a messed-up dynamic. Shepard himself discussed the bind that put her in and the mess that resulted.

        Even the example given of D’Arcy Carden isn’t equivalent. Carden did some nanny work for a famous actor. She didn’t then become enmeshed in the life of the family she nannied for to the extent she was involved in their artistic professional pursuits as a collaborator. That’s before we, again! Circle back around to being asked to COUNT HER EMPLOYER’S PILLS.

      • Slowdown says:

        Listen, I didn’t say that this was a healthy arrangement. What I am saying is that from the outside everything seems fishy if you know nothing about a friendship, which, healthy or not, is what this seems to be. Maybe it’s easier and less uncomfortable for someone outside the marriage to dose the pills rather than the wife which can turn the marriage into a demeaning situation. What do I know? What I know is that lots of people have this kind of friend / manager / pa/ kind of situation and we are focusing here on something banal by all accounts in HW.

  28. GoogleIt says:

    I’m not an addict so I don’t know all the nuances of this but how do you claim to be sober for 16 years if you relapsed 8 years ago? I think if you can’t be honest about your own sobriety, it’s going to be difficult to stay sober.

    • Kebbie says:

      I think it was a one-off and he came clean immediately. He said something about how Kristen told him all those years of sobriety weren’t gone and that was a relief for him to hear. It sounds like he didn’t consider it a true relapse because it didn’t spiral into a full blown addiction with lying and deceit like his most recent relapse.

      • GoogleIt says:

        Again, I am not the expert but it seems like your wife doesn’t get to determine if you are sober or not. That alone is a slippery slope. Is it cheating if it’s just oral sex? I guess we all get to determine such things, but if you know there has been a “slip,” then why go out of your way to announce how many years it has been? Just celebrate sobriety.

      • Brittney B says:

        This is one of the reasons that so many AA alternatives exist. That all-or-nothing approach definitely works for SOME people, but for others… if progress completely “resets” because of ONE mistake they make, it feels like all those years of sobriety are in the garbage now, and they have to start all over from scratch. Dax himself said this: he was afraid to reset the clock, because “if it’s all gone anyway, why not make a few more mistakes before starting again?”

        Technically he hasn’t touched alcohol or coke in 16 years, which is another reason the all-or-nothing approach might be problematic in his case. He credits AA with saving his life, but it sounds like he had to rethink some of the rigid rules in order to save his life, too.

    • Embee says:

      I think that the slip at 8 years was also NOT with the substances for which he sought help, so he felt it was a little distinguishable.

    • I'm With The Band says:

      He’s hasn’t touched alcohol or cocaine in 16 years, so he’s sober in that regard. From what he’s explained previously, they are his kryptonite and were destructive AF for him.

  29. GoogleIt says:

    One of the problems with these people is that they created a public narrative for themselves, and it’s impossible for them to keep up the facade. They are dishonest people who have tried to convince the world they are open and transparent. They lie continually, if people will take the time to cover their various interviews. One small example is how they kept saying they had no nannies. They were hands-on parents and just like people not in Hollywood. In truth, they had lots of help from the beginning. They just chose never to define it with the word “nanny.” I would think it would be difficult to be sober if you can’t ever know if you are really being truthful.

  30. Liz version 700 says:

    All 3 of them need an intervention. Seriously, Dax’s sobriety is being monitored by the former nanny? Not good. Kristen over shares and cries at the thought of having to manage her family without this third person? Kristen’s oversharing of her kids show she has no boundaries. None of this is healthy. Very scary situation.

  31. Emily says:

    I don’t listen to any celebrity podcasts except Conan O’Brien’s occasionally and I try to ignore Dax and Kristen as much as possible. So I was totally unaware they have this young lady (she looks young from the photos), a former nanny, working and living with them. I think it’s fine if she’s co-writing and being a podcast host but does she really have to be quarantining with them? You can record a podcast virtually and not have to be in the same room. The dynamic just doesn’t sound healthy at all, especially since Monica still seems to have a hand in some of the childcare? There are no boundaries.

    • Caroline says:

      AFAIK she bought the house next to them with money she earned working for them, so she’s got her own place, but they are ‘quarantining’ together in the sense she’s still able to come in and out as part of their “bubble.”

      I don’t know about anyone else but we have friends we see often enough that we are in and out of their homes but not living together. They’re in our bubble.

      • Kebbie says:

        She bought the house next door?? That is so much worse lol wtf. I don’t think it’s even possible for these three to set healthy boundaries at this point. Employee, friend, family, co-worker, nanny, wife, pill dispenser, neighbor. Is she going to find this all personally fulfilling in five or ten years?

        Although if they’re paying her enough for her to afford a house in what I can only assume is a very nice neighborhood, at least she’s getting paid?

      • Sigmund says:

        But your friends are not your bosses. That’s a huge power differential. Even if Monica is consenting to everything, their dynamic is very different from what you’re describing with your friends.

    • Embee says:

      I listen tot he podcast pretty regularly and part of the quarantining was that Monica had an unexplained seizure right before COVID and it wasn’t safe for her to live alone.

  32. SM says:

    As someone with an addiction in the family, I feel for him and wish him and his family well, but apart from that I can not stand those two and their thirst brand.

  33. Elaine Stritch says:

    I think that his sobriety is his to deal with, be public with and define however he wishes.

    I DO think it’s super effing weird that she calls Dax and Kristen Mom and Dad. She’s a woman in her mid-thirties. It’s just so so so so so so weird.

    • Kebbie says:

      Calling celebrity couples mom and dad is a fairly common joke/meme on social media. I tried to link to Reddit posts about it but it wouldn’t let me.

  34. Annie says:

    I’ve always dislike him and feel that she’s is WAY too good for him. He’s an insufferable narcissist and he seems to act really spitefully towards Kristen.

    • Sigmund says:

      At his worst, he treats her with contempt. Remember his “America’s sweetheart” comment?

      My husband and I have been together a long time. And even when we’re angry, feel shitty, whatever, we have NEVER spoken to each other contemptuously like that. Everyone has arguments, but the way someone argues is very telling.

      • Lauren II says:

        This. My Ex spoke of me in a similar way. “Little Miss Perfect Goody-Goody”. He was cheating on me. Thank God i did not marry him. When i left him, he moved his other woman into his home within a week, and acted like he was wronged and a victim. His parents treated me like Gold, and i miss them.

  35. Margo says:

    I have been an Armchairee for probably over a year and I quite enjoy Dax and Monica. Their energy comes across as big brother / little sister – there’s not anything untoward in the dynamic. Monica does not have family in the LA area and she does not have a significant other (something that she has been very open about during the podcast, especially the series “Monica and Jess Love Boys” which took her on a journey to get out of her comfort zone to find a romantic relationship.) I believe that Dax is embarrassed by his slip and I think it’s natural that his ‘little sister’ is going to be more forgiving of the slip than his wife, who is probably feeling pretty disappointed and a little afraid that she could lose her husband to something she believed he had conquered. Let’s not be too harsh and judgy on Dax and Kirsten or their family dynamic. They are humans that are well-known and fabulously wealthy but who both came from nothing – no silver spoon. Personally, I’m rooting for the entire family and I hope Armchair Expert keeps getting better and better. It’s a great show f you want to learn about interesting, unexpected things related to science, entertainment, sports, business and so much more, it’s definitely a show to enjoy.

    • E.D. says:

      This right here.
      So many people here have commented yet don’t a actually listen to the podcast and understand the relationship between Monica and Dax. I do listen occasionally (I cherry pick the episodes I am interested in) and I believe there is nothing untoward about their dynamic.

      I also would like to add that I have a handful of friends that work extremely close with some high-profile people and have basically become extended family members after being employed by them for so many years.

      I think that if you are super-famous and wealthy often there’s not many people that you can really trust so that when you find one, they often become part of your inner-circle and that that may come off as being too co-dependant or even a little ‘off’ compared to most employer/employee relationships.

      I also got the impression from listening to the entire ‘7 Days’ episode, that Dax talked more about how his relapse affected Monica rather than his wife Kristen because Monica is actually the co-pilot on the podcast and EVERY single listener knows her.

      Plus Monica was right there with him at that moment in time of recording, offering him unconditional love and support in what must have been a terrifying episode for him to to make. He was fearful of losing his sponsors, his audience, his credibility as a host to his guests AND he specifically mentioned how worried he was that his confession would also blow back on his famous wife and her career.

      On a personal note, I honestly don’t understand the level of snark that I often see on this site for Kristen and Dax but I am Australian and put it down to the possibility that they have a level of fame in the U.S that is more saturated and in your day-to-day face than they do over here?

      • Petra says:

        Thanks @Margo and @E.D.Says. I listen to armchair expert weekly, it’s one of the best podcast out there. I’ve never seen Dax or Kristen movies, what I know of them is from the podcast. I take offence to some people here questioning these three people integrity. The relationship between Monica, Dax and Kristen is family. It’s sad that people are trying to judge and taint a friendship. It’s not sexual. People can be friends, show deep love to each other without wanting to fuck. I’ve this type of friendship with a married couple. We’ve be friends for over 30 years… zero sexual desires or tension from the three of us…not even a little. They are my ride or die.

        Monica, parley a temporary nanny gig to being a producer of a top podcast. She is wimp smart and no ones fool. If some people here listen to their podcast, they would know why Monica is temporary sheltering with Dax, Kristen and their kids. Monica doesn’t say much on the podcast because it’s not her show, she is the show producer (I don’t know much about show business, but I’m sure the producers of shows are not the main focus.) She has her own show “Monica and Jess loves boys” . She is great on her show and on arm chair expert too. I hope She and Jess do a second season of their show.

        I can’t believe I’m leaving a comment. Let us not pass judgement on Dax, Kristen and Monica from the little snippets of their lives share with the public. It’s important we realise they are just human beings with feelings trying to do their best.

        Take care you all. Peace and Love!!

  36. Blerg says:

    I think Dax and Kristen both confuse being indiscreet with being truthful.

  37. Keira says:

    FWIW, I listened to a few podcast episodes based on a friend’s recommendation and found Dax to be a host who inserts himself way too much into the conversation to the detriment of hearing what the guest has to say.

    I can’t find a link but I know I’ve heard on Fresh Air or somewhere folks talk about how opiates are prescribed way to much and they aren’t even the best way of addressing pain in many cases. I’m surprised that for a recovering addict such as Dax they would’ve gone ahead and prescribed them for him. Think creatively, doctors!