Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard might be famous movie stars, but they’re absolutely one of those couples that makes you go, “Celebrities: they’re just like us.” Especially when they open up about the difficulties of marriage and parenthood—they have a special way of making us all feel seen and validated. And that’s probably due in no small part to therapy, which they both attend.

In an appearance on Ellen this week, Bell opened up to guest co-host Chelsea Handler about how she and Shepard have survived being quarantined: by complaining about each other in therapy.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were at each other’s throats,” Kristen said. “And then all the doors locked in our house. Like, we had to stay inside. And we were like, ‘Woof. We need to get a handle on the annoyances.'”

Both she and Shepard share a therapist named Harry, who apparently suggested the couple begin separate sessions to “talk sh*t about each other.”

Kristen Bell Opens Up About Couples Therapy with Dax Shepard

Being married to or in a serious relationship with someone you share children with takes some serious hard work, endless self-reflection, patience, compromise, and boundaries. It’s hard work. And putting in the work through therapy is no small feat, but for many couples—Bell and Shepard included—it’s necessary.

“The reality is, if you’re living with one human being— don’t care if it’s your partner, or your husband, or your wife, whoever it is, your roommate—you need to brush up on your toolbox,” Kristen said. “Because you will find that person annoying. Relationships take work.”

She says she and Shepard each take turns complaining and venting about the other one to Harry, who then rationalizes with each of them separately, and helps them see things through the other’s perspective.

“Every two weeks or so I’ll see Harry via Zoom and complain about Dax, and then he’ll give me all the reasons why I’m wrong, and then Dax will do the same, and then by the time we meet up in the evening, we love each other again because our toolboxes are bigger,” Bell explained.

Sometimes you just need to let it all out to someone who isn’t emotionally invested in your relationship—not family, not friends, and certainly not your kids. That’s why the Harrys of the world help so many couples improve and strengthen their marriages.

“When you have a third party moderating any disagreement, it’s always the safer place,” she concluded. “Because when two people are talking, defense mechanisms and cortisol and all that stuff, it just messes up the solution.”

We love a couple who is honest, candid, and helpful to the rest of us by sharing their story!