Not hiding it.
has never shied away from opening up about his Dax Shepard struggle with addiction and his rocky road to sober living.
Parenthood alum married in October 2013, and the pair share two daughters, Lincoln and Delta. One year before they exchanged vows, Shepard admitted that he and the Kristen Bell Veronica Mars actress were total “opposites.”
“All the things I’d done were terrifying to her, and she had a hard time believing I would ever be able to
stay married and monogamous and a father and all those things. For the first year and a half [that] we were together, that was what we battled over almost weekly,” he told Playboy in 2012, noting that he had a history of drinking and using “cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything.”
Shepard later turned his life around and pursued sobriety. After nearly being clean for nearly 16 years, the “Armchair Expert” podcast host revealed that he
suffered a relapse in his pill addiction after a string of different events — including a major motorcycle accident — led him to misuse painkillers. Despite his roadblock, Bell was still “nothing but supportive” of her husband.
“Eventually, he couldn’t hide it from her any longer and he had to come clean. She was nothing but supportive and
there’s no blame or anger on her side – just love, care and determination to get through this together,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively in October 2020. “Her heart aches for Dax after what he went through with his dad, and she’s beyond proud of him for turning his life around whilst openly addressing his demons head-on.”
Following his candid revelation, Shepard thanked Bell and his podcast cohost,
Monica Padman, for giving him the space and time he needed to heal.
“I can’t imagine having to admit that to other people and feeling as safe as I did that you guys wouldn’t hate me. I hated me at that point and so, to be able to
tell you guys and feel unconditionally loved and that I would be accepted was really special,” he said in December 2020. “It saved my life. … Even with two surgeries and a relapse and shame spiral and all this stuff, still a great year for me.”
Scroll down to look back at some of Shepard’s most powerful quotes about his sobriety journey.
‘Going Down the Rabbit Hole’
During a 2012 interview with
, the actor reflected on the big differences in his and Bell’s lifestyles. “All the things I’d done were terrifying to her, and she had a hard time believing I would ever be able to stay married and monogamous and a father and all those things. For the first year and a half we were together, that was what we battled over almost weekly,” he said at the time. “I just loved to get f—ed-up—drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine. I lived for going down the rabbit hole of meeting weird people. … I got lucky in that I didn’t go to jail.” Playboy
It Was ‘Life Threatening’
Shepard celebrated a major milestone in his sobriety journey in September 2016. “12 years ago today I came out of my last toxic, life threatening stupor. I now have a wife & babies & some self-esteem #gratitude #promises,” he tweeted at the time.
More Than One ‘Rock Bottom’
“There’s a couple of common fallacies about sobriety. One being that people hit a bottom and then that’s that. Most addicts have many bottoms,” Shepard explained during a 2019 conversation on
, reflecting on one moment that made him “take stock” of his life. “I am about to star in this movie, Off Camera With Sam Jones Zathura; they’re paying me a ton of money; people recognize me at the airport. I’m doing everything I had dreamt of doing for 30 years. It all came true, and I’m the least happy I’ve ever been in my life. I’m closest to not wanting to be alive as I’ve ever been, and I had every single thing on paper that I’d ever wanted. I feel grateful for this because I was able to say, ‘Something much more profound is broken.’”
Good Place alum came clean about her recreational marijuana use, Shepard asserted that his wife’s smoking didn’t hamper his sobriety. “That would be like a diabetic expecting their partner to never eat dessert,” he tweeted in September 2018 after Bell made headlines. “Get real!”
While speaking with Goop founder
in 2019, the Michigan native admitted that he’d become “crazy superstitious” about keeping a detailed journal for the first 12 years of his sobriety. “I had this thought that if I can’t Gwyneth Paltrow commit 20 minutes to remembering I’m an addict each morning, I’m going to end up blowing nine hours a day as an addict,” he said at the time. “I have to be able to say, minimally, this is your commitment. You’ve got to acknowledge you’re an addict every day, first thing, right when you wake up, you write a page. It doesn’t even have to be about being an addict. It’s just this physical activity there to remind myself, ‘I have a thing that I’ll never not have.”
AA Is ‘Not Abstract’
“I don’t believe people think their ways into acting different. I think they act their ways into thinking different. So, a program for quitting alcohol that doesn’t involve some action, I have a low expectation for,” Shepard told
Pete Holmes during an interview on his “Armchair Expert” podcast in 2019, outlining his thoughts about Alcoholics Anonymous. “Now, it does work for people and I would never tell someone it’s not working for them. But just in general, the thing I like about AA is it’s not abstract: Here’s what you do; write this list; call this person; be available to this guy; take that person to a meeting. You can’t wake up one morning because you’re so demoralized from the night before and decide, ‘I’m going to permanently remember that I felt this demoralized in six years and this will be sustainable.’ For me, at least, I will forget six years later what it felt like. But if I have actions that are a part of my regular muscle memory and routine, those things will do the lifting for me.”
In September 2020, the
Hit and Run star detailed a major setback in his struggle with pill addiction, noting at the time that he was seven days sober. The revelation came one month after Shepard was injured in a motorcycle accident. “I’ve had a lot of friends that I’ve watched go through this whole cycle, and I finally have the humility to say I will not be any different,” he said on his podcast. “I won’t be special. I won’t be smarter. I will be exactly like everyone else.”
Shortly after coming forward about his relapse,
Shepard thanked his fans for sticking by his side and sending him their love. “[I’m] struggling with some fraudulent feelings of receiving love based on a f–k-up. But at any rate, I’m really, really grateful and there’s so many beautiful, nice people,” he added.
Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock
No Point in Hiding
Following his vulnerable relapse revelation, the
Employee of the Month actor admitted he’s “a little confused” by people who don’t speak openly about drug use. “If you’re not going to be honest about stuff, there are just roadblocks in interviewing,” he said on the “Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum” podcast in October 2020. “I could advance this whole thing, but I don’t want to tell people I’ve done cocaine so now I can’t advance it because of that. They all end up being little roadblocks along the way.”
After a year filled with ups and downs, Shepard felt grateful to have his wife and family to help him through his lowest moments. “I can’t imagine having to admit that to other people and feeling as safe as I did that you guys wouldn’t hate me. I hated me at that point and so, to be able to tell you guys and
feel unconditionally loved and that I would be accepted was really special,” he told Bell and podcast cohost Monica Padman in December 2020. “It saved my life.”