Kristen Bell speaks out after husband Dax Shepard's relapse: 'I will continue to stand by him'
"He's addicted to evolving," Kristen Bell says of Dax Shepard
In a PEOPLE exclusive sneak peek at Wednesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Bell, 40, speaks out about his relapse and how she and her husband are together moving forward.
"He is actually doing really great. ... Everybody is up against their own demons," Bell tells DeGeneres, 62, via a Zoom interview in the clip, provided by EllenTube. "Sometimes it's anxiety and depression. Sometimes it's substance abuse."
Despite her husband's slip, Bell is proud that he was honest about it.
"The thing I love most about Dax is ... that he was able to tell me and tell us and say, 'We need a different plan.' We have a plan: if he has to take medication for any reason, I have to administer it. But he was like, 'We need a stronger plan,' " says the Good Place actress.
" 'I was faltering,' " Bell recalls Shepard, 45, telling her. " 'I have to do some sort of emotional work to figure out why I wanted to use again.' "
Among the many things that Bell admires about Shepard is that he is "addicted to growth."
"He's addicted to evolving," Bell continues. "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,' " Bell remembers her husband saying.
In addition to figuring out a new "plan," Bell reveals that she and Shepard are "going back to therapy" and that she will continue to stand by his side. "I will continue to stand by him because he's very, very worth it," she adds.
Shepard revealed he had relapsed on the Sept. 25 episode of Armchair Expert, titled "Day 7," explaining that he used painkillers following a motorcycle accident. The episode was recorded on Sept. 21 when Shepard was seven days sober.
“So eight years into sobriety, I have not done a single shady thing. There was nothing gray,” he began on the episode. But in 2012, while he was also dealing with his late father’s cancer diagnosis, he got into a motorcycle accident on the way to work.
“I immediately called my sponsor and I said, ‘I’m in a ton of pain and I got to work all day, and we have friends that have Vicodin.’ And he said, ‘Okay, you can take a couple Vicodin to get through the day at work but you have to go to the doctor, and you have to get a prescription and you have to have Kristen dole out the prescription,’ ” he said.
While there was initially "no problem" with this arrangement, Shepard found himself in trouble during a later trip to visit his father when he was given the responsibility of making sure his dad took his own prescribed painkillers.
“So I give him a bunch of Percocet and then I go, I have a prescription for this, and I was in a motorcycle accident, and I’m gonna take some too,” Shepard recounted, noting that he “probably took twice of what my other prescription was.”
After dropping his father back at the hospital, Shepard said that he “started panicking a bit,” wondering if that counted as a relapse.
The next day, Shepard explained that he confessed to taking the pills to wife Bell, who was pregnant with their daughter Lincoln, now 7, at the time. (He and Bell are also parents to daughter Delta, 5.)
“She’s like, ‘You clearly need to call someone in AA, but I would say you’re f— up from this accident, you got high with your dad, keep it moving. You don’t need to redefine it. You didn’t lose eight years, which was so comforting,” he said on the Sept. 25 podcast episode.
“Then I get hurt again,” Shepard continued, noting that he began altering when he would take the pills.
He explained that his behavior continued and got worse with each of his injuries. Earlier this year, after breaking his hand in an ATV accident and also suffering multiple injuries during another motorcycle accident, the actor said he began purchasing his own pills. He then began lying to the people around him, which he said helped him realize he needed to quit.
Shepard, who has since received an outpouring of love for his honesty, thanked the public for their support on the Sept. 28 episode of his podcast.
"I want to say thanks to all the people that have been so unbelievably lovely to us in response to 'Day 7,'" Shepard said.
The Parenthood star's co-host, Monica Padman, then chimed in to say that she hopes Shepard feels "loved and supported" and that his fears were "abated."
Shepard expressed that he's felt a sense of relief, saying, "My fears were the opposite of what the result was," before he admitted that he's "struggling with some fraudulent feelings of receiving love based on a f--- up."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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