The idea of fairytale romance didn’t quite work for Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. But they still managed to find their own version of happily ever after — it just sounds like it took a whole lot of work.
In an interview with People published Wednesday, the married actors — who have been outspoken advocates for couples therapy — reveal that although they had oodles of chemistry when they first met in 2007, embarking on a relationship was pretty complicated.
“We definitely had to work really hard at being a couple because we’re both incredibly, painfully stubborn, and we’re pretty much opposites,” Shepard, 44, said.
“The Ranch” star even broke up with Bell, 38, just months into their relationship.
But it didn’t last long. Shepard said he felt “The Good Place” star had “the best personality … ” and he “wanted to be around it when I’m 80, but how?”
To Shepard, this didn’t necessarily mean getting married — and Bell accepted that.
“He has a great argument that the state having a piece of paper doesn’t mean he’s going to be nice to me and by my side for the rest of my life. [Rather], that is going to be evidenced by how we treat each other and the commitment that we make,” Bell said. “I had surrendered, like ‘Okay, well, I’m never going to get any sort of traditional marriage out of this, and that’s okay because I trust him.’”
And although the couple is known for bucking tradition, Bell did indeed want the convention of marriage — and Shepard knew it.
So in 2009, he decided that proposing to Bell was more important than his opinions on marriage as an institution.
“Forget the tradition or history of marriage as a concept, you knowing I was doing something that I didn’t want to do because I loved you was a big sign for you,” Shepard told Bell during their interview.
In 2013 the couple had an intimate courthouse wedding. Bell told People that receiving a ring from Shepard “felt nice afterwards” and their relationship “felt more normal.”
The couple is now celebrating 12 years together and have been taking stock in the life they’ve built together, which includes their two daughters, Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 4.
“All these movies from the ’80s taught us that it’s love at first sight, and it is supposed to be easy and [that] all you have to do is find that person,” Bell said. “It took me a while to realize, ‘Oh, that was such a lie,’ because things that you work really, really, really hard for always yield the best results.”