Like many couples, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard found themselves trapped at home together during lockdown — and all that time in close quarters made them realize they needed to work on aspects of their relationship.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were at each other’s throats,” Bell said Tuesday's episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” guest-hosted by Chelsea Handler. “And then all the doors locked in our house, like we had to stay inside, and we were like, ‘Woof. We need to get a handle on the annoyances.’”
So, they went to couples’ therapy, which Bell describes as a way of expanding their emotional “toolbox.”
“The reality is, if you’re living with one human being — I don’t care if it’s your partner or your husband or your wife or whoever it is, your roommate — you need to brush up on your toolbox, because you will find that person annoying,” the “Frozen” star said. “Relationships take work.”
Their therapist, Harry, suggested they meet with him separately, “kind of so that we could talk s--- about each other,” Bell joked.
“Every two weeks or so, I’ll see Harry via Zoom and complain about Dax, and then he’ll give me all the reasons why I’m wrong,” she said. “And then Dax will do the same, and by the time we meet up in the evening, we love each other again because our toolboxes are bigger.”
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Shepard, 46, and Bell, 40, have always been candid about the ups and downs of their marriage, as well as their individual mental health struggles.
In September, Shepard revealed in an episode of his “Armchair Expert” podcast that he had relapsed on painkillers following 16 years of sobriety.
Bell opened up about how she supported her husband through that difficult time, and shared how much she admires his willingness to change.
“One of the main reasons I love him is that he’s also addicted to growth,” she said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in October. “He’s addicted to evolving and he was like, ‘I don’t want to risk this family and I did, so let’s put new things in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again,’ and we’re going back to therapy.”
Bell and Shepard have been married since 2013 and they have two daughters, Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 6.
Shepard also described how he and Bell explained his relapse to their kids.
"They knew when I relapsed. We explained, 'Well, Daddy was on these pills for his surgery and then Daddy was a bad boy and he started getting his own pills,'" he said during an April episode of the “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” podcast.
"Yeah, we tell them the whole thing," he added.