He struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction before becoming sober in 2004. She was a “good girl” who attended Catholic school followed by college.
“We come from such a different starting point, and I do think it’s probably the neatest thing about life,” the Parenthood star, 40, says during an appearance on Off Camera with Sam Jones, airing Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Audience Network.
“We live in the same house, we have the same two kids, we make the same amount of money, we have the same job … Look how different a path you can take and end up in the exact same spot in life. It’s insane.”
The life lesson isn’t lost on Shepard, who plans to keep his and Bell’s parallel journeys in mind when parenting their children, daughters Delta, 4 months, and Lincoln, 2.
“I need to remind myself of that, and I have friends who are worried that [their child is] straying off over here … You don’t know what they’re going to turn out to be,” he insists.
“They may end up in the same house as Kristen. You just don’t know! It’s wild what a different road you can both take to the same exit.”
Both Shepard and Bell, 34, have been open about their marriage and their decision to continually attend couples therapy. But according to the actor, attending the sessions together isn’t anything new: It all began shortly after the former costars started dating.
“We went to couples therapy right out of the gates,” he explains. “We both got offered this movie, When in Rome, [and] the studio said, ‘We don’t want to hire two people that are dating.’ The producer, who’s a friend of mine, [said that to me] and I said, ‘You have my word, I’ve never lied to you, I will not break up with her no matter what happens on this movie.’ “
He admits, “Had I not promised that producer we weren’t going to break up, I think I would have broken up with her for sure.”
Once the film wrapped, the couple found themselves in the real world and realized they would need to work together if they wanted their relationship to last — a step that Shepard thinks every serious partnership should take.
“[The producer] said, ‘Don’t you understand, Dax? That is real life, saying you’re not going to break up with someone and sticking to that — that’s real life,’ ” he recalls.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever done couples therapy at the beginning of the relationship instead of trying to fix one that’s been destroyed, and I got to say, we all have it backward — you should start there!”
— Anya Leon