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Kristen Bell Explains Why Dax Shepard Opened Up About Childhood Molestation: Vulnerability ‘Can Be Helpful to Others’

Kristen Bell opens up to Us Weekly exclusively about why her husband, Dax Shepard, is sharing his story about being sexually abused as a child.

“Well, in truth, he has dealt with it many, many years ago,” Bell, 35, told Us at the Annenberg Space for Photography’s Refugee event in L.A. on Thursday, April 21. “It wasn’t a moment he revealed. It’s a lifestyle he lives, where he’s honest and brave. The entirety of the radio show, he was relating to the host who had a similar revelation, and they were communicating.”

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Shepard, 41, who was on SiriusXM’s The Jason Ellis Show in an interview posted Monday, April 18, discussed the trauma of being molested at age 7 by an 18-year-old neighbor. The program’s host, Jason Ellis, first broached the topic when he shared how he was sexually abused by his own father.

“It wasn’t anything like what you recounted,” the Parenthood actor said in response to Ellis. “It took me 12 years to tell anyone [about what happened].”

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell

Bell noted that it wasn’t Shepard’s first time discussing the childhood incident. “I think that to me is the more profound thing that he does talk about it,” Bell said of her husband. “Anytime someone can admit a vulnerability, and it can be helpful to others, it should be done when said person is ready. That emotion is maybe one of the most profound ones we have. I, particularly, I’m taken with vulnerability when you’re in any sort of conflict. If you come at the other person, come back to the other person with vulnerability, you can never lose. It always makes the situation better.”

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Shepard also opened up to Ellis last week about grappling with “insane” thoughts. “I was like, a) it’s my fault — as generic as that is,” he recalled. “And I’m gay. I must have manifested this because I’m secretly gay.”

Bell also explained to Us why the refugee exhibit was especially important to her. The When in Rome star was joined on Thursday by many celebrities, including Emilia Clarke, Amy Adams and husband Darren Le Gallo, Maria Shriver, Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, James Marsden and others.

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“I think it’s exacerbated by my maternal instinct,” the mom of two, who shares daughters Lincoln, 3, and Delta, 16 months, with Shepard, told Us. “Particularly because my heart and soul lies in my family life. I value my family more than I could ever articulate. And the idea of possibly being separated from them, or being forced to leave them, is horrifying. Particularly because a lot of the images we’ve seen have been with children. It adds an extra sting because kids aren’t at fault for any of the BS that adults are at fault for. And that’s just the truth of it. You can ruin a kid as he or she grows up. And to see those little ones being passed through barbed wire, or traveling on rafts through grease, I cannot help but put my daughter’s face on every single one of those kids.”

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