Kristen Bell on Her TV Habits, Being a Tomboy, and the Improbability of Monogamy

Actress Kristen Bell
Actress Kristen BellJason Merritt / Staff / Getty Images

Our favorite bad mom, Kristen Bell, talks staying happily married—after getting naked with your husband’s best friend. Hey, all in a day’s work, right?

Men’s Journal: A Bad Moms Christmas is about how Thanksgiving and Christmas suck for moms, who do all the work. You’re a mom—have you figured out a way around doing everything?

Kristen Bell: Currently our family holiday tradition is, simply, take it fucking easy. I feel like there is so much nonsensical stress around the holidays, and my one mission is to avoid it all. When I’m feeling domestic, I’ll make a big recipe. When I’m feeling lazy, we order out, even if it’s a big holiday. My goal is to get to the couch as quickly as possible.

You’ve said you were a tomboy growing up—why do you think you connected better with guys?

I was a very late bloomer—I didn’t even go through puberty until I was 17—so my interest to hang out with guys was never about sexual exploration. I just wanted to hang out and talk about hockey. There was no Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise for me, only Red Wings players like Darren McCarty, Steve Yzerman, and Kris Draper.

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But you did propose to your husband (actor Dax Shepard) on Twitter.

We’d talked about marriage, and he’d gotten me an engagement ring. But 50 percent of our friends are gay, and it felt gross to have a wedding and be like, “Watch us celebrate this thing you can’t do!” We were in different cities on the morning the Supreme Court was ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. When the verdict was read, I proposed, and we had a courthouse wedding for $147. We’re best friends with this couple, Amy and Ryan Hansen, and she was our witness. A few hours later, I had to go into work on House of Lies and film a full-on nude sex scene with Ryan—my husband’s best friend and the spouse of the woman who signed our marriage papers that morning. I married my husband, and then I went and pretend-fucked his best friend. If we can survive that, we can survive anything.

What have you learned from Dax about being in a relationship?

He’s very direct about his emotions, and I’m grateful for that because it lets me in on the way he thinks as far as tending to our marriage—when we should go to therapy, when we have to be better at intimacy, all those things in order to meet each other’s needs. He’s very open about what he needs to stay satisfied in our relationship, because if one partner isn’t satisfied, you just kiss it goodbye; somebody’s going to stray.

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What are your thoughts about monogamy?

I’m quite positive we are not meant to be monogamous. It’s difficult, and it requires a lot of attention, vulnerability, and openness.

What’s your ideal date night?

Binge-watching good TV. We say, “Are you ready to party tonight?” That means ride the couch. I enjoy forcing people to be festive, so a show like Game of Thrones that has great character dress-up cosplay is ideal. We go to the church of John Oliver. We never miss a 60 Minutes. I love the long-form documentary episodes on Frontline. We watch a lot of Real Sports, Stranger Things, Ozark, Fargo. I really love murder porn, like Dateline and the “S-Town” podcast. I’m fascinated by people who come unhinged.

There’s a video of you sobbing after Dax surprised you by bringing home a live sloth—it has 25 million views. How’d that happen?

He noticed that I was constantly watching animal videos of little sloths and saying we should go to Costa Rica to meet one. In order to make this happen, he had to take out a wild-animal insurance policy on our house, which is not easy or cheap. Part of the reason I was so excited and crying was not only that I was going to actually see a sloth in real life but also that Dax had gone to such great lengths.

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How’s he ever going to top that one?

A better surprise was when he secretly got a bell tattooed on his ring finger—which is so cute it makes me want to puke—with my initials and our two daughters’ initials on it. Though it was before the second one was born, and he put a D for her, so I was like, “Well, shit, I guess we’re stuck with a D name.” [They went with Delta.—Ed.]

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