Hint: Leave the dramatic exits for the stage.
We can all agree that Kristen Bell is a delightful actress, but when it comes to making a scene, the star of Frozen and Bad Moms has realized that big, dramatic exits are best left for the stage and screen—they don’t belong in the middle of a fight with someone you love.
When Bell appeared on Harry Connick, Jr.,’s talk show Harry on Wednesday, she told the singer that when she was first dating comedian/actor Dax Shepard, she loved getting into big fights. “When we first met, we fell madly in love, and I love the dramatic exit,” says Bell, who married Shepard in 2013. “We’d get in a fight, because we’d fight a lot, and I’d, like, yell something and then slam the bedroom door, then I’d slam the front door, then I’d get in my car and I’d skid out the driveway and I would sit around the corner in my car and it felt so good, and I realized how incredibly toxic it was only after he pointed it out.”
Shepard put the kibosh on that routine early on, telling Bell he needed to help her become a good fighter. “I always thought I was, because I always won,” she told Connick. “He’s like, No, people can’t do that. Our marriage won’t survive.”
Shepard’s new rules for fighting: You can leave the room, but not the house. Later, the couple upped the ante so they couldn’t even leave the room (Bell says she just mean-texted him instead).
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Now that Bell and Shepard are the parents of two girls, Lincoln, 4 and Delta, 3, their method of staying in the room and working it out is more important than ever. And that strategy is backed up by the experts. “Research shows that when children see conflicts get resolved, they feel very positive emotions. They really benefit from seeing their parents compromise and listen to each other’s concerns,” says E. Mark Cummings, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame.