Kristen Bell: Couples Therapy Is Great, Being Anti-Vaccination Is “Unacceptable”
Kristen Bell takes on the anti-vaccination crowd and talks about her couples therapy with Dax Shepard in the new Good Housekeeping. The mom of two young daughters has shifted her priorities since becoming a parent, and opens up about those changes in the magazine.
“Our life has taken a turn, but not in a bad way,” she explains. “I yearn for more one-on-one time and romantic outings with my husband, but the kids have added a lot more excitement and a different kind of fun.” But she and Shepard don’t plan to add to their family. Bell says, “I loved being pregnant — but I don’t want to be outnumbered!”
The actress also is less stressed about navigating her Hollywood career. “I still want to do really good, creative work, but I’m not nervous about it, because I get my self-esteem from [providing for] my children now,” she tells the magazine. “The girls need us, and feeling needed is a good feeling. In our house, we get our self-esteem from performing [kind], esteemable acts. When you’re feeling egotistical, our rule is that you have to drop it and help someone else.”
Bell reveals that before she had children, she thought she’d be against vaccinations. That’s not the case now that she’s raising her daughters. “I’m very crunchy, and happily so. But there is a lot of scientific, proven information out there that shows why vaccinations are necessary,” she says.
She continues, “Kids with autoimmune diseases, kids who are receiving cancer treatments — they can’t be vaccinated because their immune systems [can’t handle it]. If your kid has leukemia, he can’t get vaccinations; if he then goes to school with my kid and I chose not to give my kid vaccinations, I’m putting your kid at risk.”
“To me, that’s unacceptable,” says Bell. “There are the weak among us whom we have to protect. As moms, our responsibility is not just to our kids — it’s to all the other kids, too. People often misplace fear. Your child is 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a severe reaction to a vaccine. That’s a fact.”
Good Housekeeping also talked to Bell and Shepard jointly about their marriage counseling. It turns out, they’ve been in therapy since the beginning, and it’s made a huge difference. Shepard explains, “There were hurdles, things she didn’t trust about me, things I didn’t trust about her. I just kept going back to ‘This person has the thing I want, and I have to figure out how we can exist peacefully.’ So we started [seeing a therapist together] right away.”
As Bell puts it, “You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.” And they don’t like how the process is portrayed in the media. Shepard tells the magazine, “I noticed an actor and her husband on [a recent cover of a celebrity tabloid] that said, ‘In Couples’ Therapy!’ The clear message is, ‘Oh, their marriage is ending.’ There’s such a negative connotation. In my previous relationship, we went to couples’ therapy at the end, and that’s often too late. You can’t go after nine years and start figuring out what patterns you’re in.”
Things aren’t perfect between Bell and Shepard, but they deal with issues in a constructive way. “The way Dax and I argue now — and we argue a lot; we disagree on almost everything! — is so healthy,” says the actress. What do you think about what she has to say in Good Housekeeping?