Dax Shepard Shares How He Told His Daughters About His Relapse

by Kristina Johnson
Manny Carabel/WireImage/Getty

Dax Shepard says he doesn’t hide details of his addiction from his two young daughters with wife Kristen Bell

In an emotional episode of his podcast last year, Dax Shepard announced that he had relapsed after 16 years of sobriety. In a new interview on another podcast — In Fact with Chelsea ClintonShepard shared why he revealed that news to the world, and why he didn’t hide it from his young daughters, either.

The actor and host of the Armchair Expert podcast explained that he’d begun taken prescription opioid pills for pain management following an ATV crash. Before too long, however, he realized he was taking more than he’d been prescribed and still looking for more. But as someone who’d been so visibly and vocally sober, he struggled with the idea of having to start over. “I’d built this whole identity in my head around having 16 years,” he told Clinton.

Once he reached the point where he could no longer ignore how the situation was hurting those around him, he decided to get help and be honest, including with daughters Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 6, with wife Kristen Bell.

“They knew when I relapsed. We explained, ‘Well, daddy was on these pills for his surgery and then daddy was a bad boy and he started getting his own pills,'” he told Clinton. “We tell them the whole thing.” He said the girls have pretty much always known about his issues with addiction, sharing a funny story about how the then three-year-old Lincoln once asked to tag along to one of his twice-weekly AA meetings. He told her “you gotta be an alcoholic,” to go to AA, to which she immediately replied, “I’m gonna be an alcoholic!”

It can’t be easy to have those types of conversations with your children, but ultimately, he said he just wants them to know that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. He said getting treatment for addiction should be treated as no different from getting treatment for diabetes, or getting a broken bone reset. “I don’t have any shame about it. I’m not carrying around 15 years of shame from when I was a raging addict. I felt guilty about a lot of those things, but I’m not embarrassed by them,” he said.

“The proudest I am of my children ever, is when they admit something and say sorry,” he explained. “It’s the bravest thing to own your shortcomings.” Shepard provided a powerful example of that by revealing his relapse, and that may be why he says getting sober again now feels even better than it did the first time. “I feel better with six months than I had felt at 15 years.”