Hollywood’s Funniest Couple On Parenthood, Marriage & More

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are one of Hollywood’s golden couples. Married for nearly a decade and the parents of two young daughters, they founded Hello Bello – a babycare company – back in 2019. Here, they share what they enjoy about working together, how they keep the spark alive and their favourite London hotspots.

So, Kristen, Dax, what do you enjoy most about being in London?

Kristen: The food. 

Dax: Yeah, the food – which is ironic, because back in the day no one had a good word to say about English food. But the London food scene is so good now – we’re trying to figure out how to eat at Lina Stores at least six times in the next few days.

Kristen: We’ve actually extended the trip by two days just so we can hit some of our favourite places. We’ve already been to Dishoom and Nopi, and we’ll probably go back to Lina Stores tonight.

Is there anything else on your bucket list for this trip?

Dax: Just lying together in bed. It’s our first child-free trip in nine years that’s more than a single night. 

Kristen: Yeah, those one-off nights are about recovery more than anything else. This is our first adult trip where we can hold hands and just stroll through the city. 

Dax: We walked to and from dinner last night and it was great. You guys are so out and about post-Covid. It’s great to see – I like it.

Our one MARRIAGE TIP? Get yourselves to THERAPY – even if you don’t think you’re doing something wrong, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Speaking of lockdown – how did it affect you?

Kristen: I love how well I got to know my kids – I’m not sure I would have if there hadn’t been that many enforced hours in the day when we were all together. 

Dax: Most of it was enormously positive except for the home schooling. Generally, Kristen and I try to arrange our lives so only one of us is shooting a movie at any one time. The other is then totally present with the kids. So to have us both around at the same time – for nearly two whole years – was great. 

Kristen: We’d never been forced to live in the present like that. So everyone had to get real comfortable, real quick. We were also very privileged to have space and a garden. As for home schooling, I was that parent at the beginning making signs that said ‘Camp Quarantine’ and telling everyone, “Guys, I’m going to be so good at this.” But it soon became clear my children do not enjoy being taught by their mother. One day I got pretty down about it and Delta, our youngest, put four single dollar bills in an envelope that said on the front, “Hey Mom, you’re a great home teacher.”

Dax: That’s nice she gave you a little something for your trouble…

And what effect did it have on you as a couple?

Kristen: The pandemic definitely kicked off at a time when the two of us needed some emotional housekeeping.

Dax: Yeah, we’d become pros at seeing each other for three hours a night. We had that nailed.

Kristen: Ha! I mean, I remember saying, “We’re on the same team and we need to get back to therapy.” As people, we’re polar opposites, so we needed to be given the tools to get through this crazy time. Once we did that, it was great.

What’s your one tip for a happy marriage?

Kristen: Get yourselves to therapy – because even if you don’t think you’re doing something wrong, you’re probably doing something wrong. And be flexible – nothing is ever a one-size-fits-all situation.

Dax: The more I can remind myself that Kristen was once a little kid who had her own childhood and upbringing and is now a human being – not a co-CEO in raising our children or another soldier in this fight – the better I treat her. But it’s really difficult to give other couples advice when you don’t know them. If you need advice about how to be married to Kristen Bell, then I’ve got the entire playbook. 

What’s your favourite thing about each other?

Dax: Her a**. No, I’m kidding…

Kristen: [Laughing] That he’s always striving to make me laugh at all times. It’s very comforting to have your own personal jester. 

Dax: It’s a stereotype to say comedians aren’t funny at home – but I’m probably funnier there than anywhere else. 

What’s the one thing about becoming parents that’s surprised you?

Kristen: How much I would have to stop myself from projecting my own qualities or those of my husband onto our kids. I’ve had to learn that they are autonomous beings, and I am only here to support them, rather than shape them in every single way.

Dax: Being a parent really challenges the notion that there’s a right way to do anything. The idea that there might be a parenting handbook is just laughable. Our kids are such opposites, even though they grew up in the same house with the same parents. Each of them requires a completely different approach. It cements the idea that anything binary is complete horsesh*t. There’s no one learning style, no one school, nothing.

How do you talk to your kids about the different things going on in the world?

Kristen: Very candidly and with respect. For example, when we were having a volcanic reckoning with the Black Lives Matter movement during lockdown…

Dax: Well, a few thousand protestors marched peacefully down our street. So, we had to explain that to them. 

Kristen: I tried to reduce it as much as I could so the concept didn’t seem unattainable, but I would show them pictures I thought were appropriate or remind them of the reasons why certain people raise their voice. We talked a lot about how people have been treated throughout history, too.

Dax: We usually talk to them when they ask questions. We don’t sit them down and be like, “Guys, this is what’s happening in Ukraine…”

Kristen: Sometimes there’s just too much going on, right?

Dax: Luckily, they get bored a lot, especially when we talk about sex. We try to explain it and 15 minutes in they say, “God this is boring” and just roll their eyes and walk off.

Kristen: In my own experience, I’ve never seen much point in keeping things from my kids – especially if they’ve asked. I don’t want to shelter them. They need to know about the problems in the world so they can be part of the solution one day.

Tell us a bit more about growing Hello Bello

Dax: We were really lucky that kids didn’t stop sh*tting their pants in quarantine. The premise of the company is that no one should have to choose between their budget or their baby. Everything should be as affordable and accessible as possible.

Kristen: We saw there was a better way to do this kind of business. I mean, we never had ‘Have a diaper company’ on our vision board – the opportunity just presented itself. We knew there was a gap in the market to make it better for everyone. So we’ve just been trying to hustle and get the word out.

Dax: This is definitely the opposite of, say, launching a tequila brand. There’s literally nothing sexy about this space; there’s nothing cool about travelling the country talking about nappies. 

Kristen: I believe the future is going to be about ‘for-profit businesses for good’, which is why we try to do as much manufacturing in the US as possible. We also opened a diaper facility in the US right before Covid hit and all the ports closed. 

Dax: It looks like a genius decision but really it was just luck, honey. 

Kristen: The ultimate goal was always to – one day – bring it to everyone.

Kristen is IN CHARGE of every ingredient. Everything GOES PAST HER FIRST. I’m very much about the messaging, the copy, the aesthetic and what we want our customers to feel.

How do you work together in the business?

Dax: It’s really about divide and conquer. Kristen is in charge of every ingredient. Everything goes past her first. I’m very much about the messaging, the copy, the aesthetic and what we want our customers to feel. I remember being shocked at how much shaming and judgement Kristen was subjected to when she was pregnant. I hated it, so I have a chip on my shoulder about parents not being able to do things their way. So many of the traditional babycare companies project this image of perfection – babies on clouds wearing little angel wings. All I could think was, “No one’s having this experience!”

Kristen: Every parent’s hands smell like urine, there’s avocado stains everywhere – parenting is such a stinky mess. With the business, my role is definitely focused on efficacy. I test everything on my girls.

Dax: Yeah, that’s one of our slogans, actually – ‘Not tested on animals, only our children.’

Kristen: [Laughing] Ultimately, we’re just trying to build a community where people can feel like themselves and are free from judgement or perfection.

 

Hello Bello is now exclusively available in Asda and online at Asda.co.uk and HelloBello.co.uk.

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