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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Had to ‘Work Really, Really Hard’ to Find Happily Ever After

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Had to ‘Work Really, Really Hard’ to Find Happily Ever After

People

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard sat down exclusively with PEOPLE for its latest cover story and opened up about marriage, parenting and more.

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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard define #CoupleGoals, but they’re the first to admit their nearly 12 years together have been filled with ups and downs.

We definitely had to work really hard at being a couple because we’re both incredibly, painfully stubborn, and we’re pretty much opposites,Shepard, 44, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s cover story, on stands Friday.

After crossing paths briefly at a dinner party in 2007, the couple — who wed in 2013 and have two daughters, Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 4 — reconnected weeks later at a hockey game where “the sparks were flying,” says The Ranchstar. Adds Bell, 38: “Big time.

Though they had undeniable chemistry, both say their road to marriage was certainly rocky. Not quite ready to settle down at the time, Shepard broke up with Bell months into their relationship.

But just a few days later, the stars — who recently launched an affordable, plant-based baby product line called Hello Bello — reunited after Shepard changed his mind.

“I was like, ‘That’s the best personality I’ve ever seen on a woman. I need to be around it,” recalls Shepard. “I want to be around it when I’m 80, but how?”

The answer was trust and honesty plus “a little couple’s therapy” — and a very meaningful compromise.

Knowing Shepard didn’t believe in marriage, the Bad Moms actress had accepted she would never be his wife.

“He has a great argument that the state having a piece of paper doesn’t mean he’s going to be nice to me and by my side for the rest of my life. [Rather], that is going to be evidenced by how we treat each other and the commitment that we make,” says Bell. “I had surrendered, like ‘Okay, well, I’m never going to get any sort of traditional marriage out of this, and that’s okay because I trust him.’ I really, really trusted him and believed that we were going to go the long haul.”

But Shepard knew how much marriage meant to Bell, and “ultimately, I was like, ‘Well, I’m doing it because my partner wants that,” he explains about proposing in 2009. “Forget the tradition or history of marriage as a concept, you knowing I was doing something that I didn’t want to do because I loved you was a big sign for you.”

After their intimate, courthouse nuptials in 2013, the couple — who often buck tradition — did feel a greater sense of security.

Check the pictures in our gallery:

Photo Sessions & Outtakes > 2019 > People Magazine

Magazine Scans > 2019 > People Magazine

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