The love story of the actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard has been told many times, mostly by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. They met at a dinner party in 2007, and though there were, in Bell’s words, “no sparks whatsoever,” they soon embarked on a committed relationship. In 2009, they co-starred in the travel-themed romantic comedy When In Rome and got engaged. At the time, they pledged not to marry until all their gay friends could, too, but they eventually tied the knot in 2013 after their state of residence, California, overturned Prop 8. (Bell “re-proposed” to Shepard on Twitter after the ruling with the hashtag #loveislove.)
Shortly after the birth of their first daughter in 2013, Bell and Shepard joined the nascent campaign to block the paparazzi from photographing celebrity children. But they have remained surprisingly open to publicly discussing their parenting and marriage struggles. Bell, 41, and Shepard, 46, revealed to Good Housekeeping in 2015 that they started couples therapy “right away” when they got married. Since then, they have provided the media with regular updates on how that’s going. Last year, the couple sat for a joint interview with Katie Couric in which Bell said she and Shepard had been “at each other’s throats” during the pandemic. “‘America’s Sweetheart’ has some character defects,” Shepard added.
A few months later, Shepard revealed on his popular podcast that he had relapsed after 16 years of sobriety. Bell was publicly supportive. “We don’t want anyone to think we met and it’s been easy,” Shepard said in an interview with the Today show’s Willie Geist in February. “Because if that’s someone’s expectation of a relationship, and certainly marriage, it’s a bad expectation to have.”
“It’s interesting,” he added. “We don’t feel like we have an option to be anything other than honest.”
To that I say: What’s up with Bell’s new co-star?
Though many fans have questioned the utility of the Bell-Shepard marriage over the years — “straight people are so tragic,” went one memorable assessment by an Instagram commenter — I have always thought they were a good match. They both like to talk and seem to be fine with whatever one says about the other. They both like going to therapy. They incidentally have two daughters named after classic cars (Delta and Lincoln). They rescue dogs together. What more can you ask for?
I got nervous, however, in May, when Bell started spending a lot of time with a new, young-ish actor named Benjamin Levy Aguilar. Though Bell and Shepard talk about everything that is going on in their lives, they have yet to address this blossoming relationship. See here:
The hard-nosed reporters at Just Jared have taken a particular interest in documenting Bell’s new friendship, which I appreciate. Per Jared, Aguilar was recently cast in Bell’s new, limited Netflix series The Woman In the House. Also per Jared, he’s Guatemalan and Jewish, a black belt in Krav Maga, and in great shape. Here are Bell and Aguilar hiking together in Griffith Park on May 14:
And here they are leaving a Los Feliz gym on June 7:
They were photographed at the same gym together multiple other times in the past few months, always grinning at each other. Sometimes, they get in Bell’s car and embrace.
Outside of these paparazzi photos, however, Bell and Aguilar have not publicly acknowledged each other. Neither has posted about the other on Instagram, though they do follow each other and like each other’s posts. (Shepard and Aguilar do not follow each other.) Even though they have yet to publicly address whatever is happening between them, they seem very happy:
Bell and Aguilar were last spotted smiling and working out together on June 17. A few weeks later, Shepard revealed that he’s also been working out. During a podcast interview with Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (still married), he said he recently gained 24 pounds of muscle by lifting weights and taking “heavy testosterone injections.”
“I spent my whole life as a medium boy, and now I’m a big boy, and I love it,” he explained.
What to make of all of this? Maybe Bell and Shepard simply share a love of fitness, and they’re called to express it in different but equally healthy ways. Maybe they’re talking about whatever is going on in couples therapy, and we’ll hear about it on a podcast soon. Or perhaps this is a long, Netflix-funded con to get us to learn the name “Benjamin Levy Aguilar.” Either way, I’m paying attention!
This has been Celebrity Divorce Watch.