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Dax Shepard reveals why he and wife Kristen Bell are so open about marriage struggles

In a new Sunday Sitdown with TODAY's Willie Geist, Dax Shepard opened up about his recent relapse, as well as his relationship with Kristen Bell.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard
Actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are famously open about the ups and downs of their seven-year marriage.Nathan Congleton / NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
/ Source: TODAY

Dax Shepard and wife Kristen Bell are famously candid about ups and downs of their relationship.

While it might seem like an unusual choice for celebrity parents, Shepard, 46, opened up about why they're so honest in a recent interview with Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist.

“We don't want anyone to think we met and it's been easy 'cause if that's someone's expectation of a relationship and certainly a marriage, it's a bad expectation to have,” he said. “So it's interesting. We don't feel like we have an option.”

Shepard went on to joke that he was going to exaggerate how long his conversation with Willie lasted as a way to get a little extra alone time.

"I have the option to say this went another half hour longer," he told Willie.

"I'll say we went long. Blame it on (me)," Willie answered.

The couple revealed early on in the pandemic that they, like many Americans, were having relationship struggles during quarantine.

During an Instagram Live with former TODAY co-anchor Katie Couric, Shepard was asked how his family was getting along and replied, “We’re getting along good with the kids, and we’re getting along good with the adults we’re friends with, but this has been stressful for mama and dada.”

Bell, 40, chimed in, “We’ve been at each other’s throats real bad, real bad over the last couple, oh yeah.”

Shepard joked that they stopped fighting just a few minutes before talking to Couric.

“This is as physically close as we’ve been in a couple days ‘cause we’ve just found each other revolting,” Bell added.

“America’s sweetheart has some character defects,” Shepard quipped, poking fun at Bell.

Bell and Shepard may argue when they're stuck in close quarters, but they support each other when it matters. The "Frozen" star stayed by her husband's side when, after 16 years of sobriety, he became addicted to opioids following an August motorcycle accident.

Shepard broke the news on his podcast, "Armchair Expert." He initially worried about going public with his relapse, but advice from a friend changed his mind.

“I have a good friend who said to me, you know, ‘If what you like is helping people, there's almost nothing you can do that'd be more helpful than you telling everyone,'" Shepard recalled.

Reflecting on how he's come to understand what allowed him to slip up, he continued: "I had to look at, like what am I not dealing with? What am I ignoring? What am I just shoving off into the corner? And that became obvious to me, and I feel wonderful. I actually feel better with this current four months than I had in maybe the previous year of sobriety.”

In addition to his popular podcast, Shepard has a new show that falls right into the actor's area of expertise, "Top Gear America."

"My whole life has been cars," Shepard told Willie. "My dad sold cars, my mother worked at General Motors and worked her way up the ladder. Then she started a company that put on huge press events for new car releases."

"The only reason I'm compelled to make money is to give it to people so they'll hand me keys to things," he added.