Kristen Bell is REAL SIMPLE’s first-ever celebrity cover star in its 23-year history for the Game Changers-themed print and digital issue. As someone who’s been changing the Hollywood game for the better since before it was cool, the actress and entrepreneur opens up about her fiercely protective parenting approach, supporting her husband Dax Shepard through addiction recovery, and bringing empathy and vulnerability into every project she takes on.
On talking to her kids about anything and everything: “I hate the word ‘taboo.’ I think it should be stricken from the dictionary. There should be no topic that’s off the table for people to talk about. I know it’s shocking, but I talk to my kids about drugs, and the fact that their daddy is an addict, and he’s in recovery, and we talk about sex. There are all these ‘hard topics’ that don’t have to be if you give the person on the other end your vulnerability and a little bit of credit.”
On why Dax is her game changer and how he instills confidence in her: “My husband keeps my mind and heart open and moving forward every single day, because he’s a challenger. We disagree about 99 percent of the things on earth, which is just fun and interesting.” “I often feel underqualified, whether for an acting scene or a parenting moment. When I feel wonky about my day, I tell my husband, ‘I like doing this, but I don’t really know what I’m doing.’ And he goes, ‘All you need to do is get the project to the finish line.’ When I think about it like that, I realize I might actually be good at it.”
On practicing jujitsu with her daughter: “I could break your arm… Jujitsu is all about leverage—it’s about using connection and distance. Doing it with my daughter brought us closer together… It’s been a ton of growth for both me and my daughter, who was struggling socially before we started, and has come so far and is doing things that just make my heart explode. She stopped a fight on the yard at her school! It’s kind of phenomenal.”
On what her husband’s addiction taught her: “When I met my husband, he’d just recently started to be in recovery. If he found a pill, he’d be gone for three days. He’d miss Christmas and do lots of things that are inarguably bad things. I was a goody-goody with a temper. He was vulnerable and communicative. That scrambled my brain, because I was like, ‘I’m the one who does things right, OK? ‘And he was like, ‘But you don’t, because you’re scared to say what you really feel.’ It was hard for me to say when something scared me. I realized that when I talked more about my fears, I gained more respect from not just my husband but everyone in my life.”
On the number one thing she’s teaching her kids: “Making amends and apologizing is an important thing in our family, because humans leave carnage wherever they go. I really respect when someone does something wrong or hurtful and they apologize. I’m like, ‘Yeah, right on.’ That’s important. If there’s one thing I want to teach my kids, it’s how to make amends—and that it’s for themselves, so they can like who’s in the mirror a little bit more.”
On making parenting accessible and relatable with her company Hello Bello: “One of our missions is accessibility. We’re also trying to convey that parenting is hard. It’s gross. It stinks. The baby products I bought for my nursery were all white, cream, and baby pink—but everything smelled like pee and avocado. There’s a dissonance. So I wanted to let things be weird. Let’s put the word ‘poop’ on the diaper box because that’s what it’s used for. It’s for poop! Let’s stop pretending this is a baby angel sitting in a cloud, because kids are disgusting and sticky, and that’s funny.”
REAL SIMPLE’s digital issue is available now here and the print issue is on sale February 17.
[Photo Credit: Chrisean Rose/REAL SIMPLE Magazine]
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