When it comes to parenting, Kristen Bell isn’t a personality who likes to keep her opinions to herself. But a revelation about her youngest daughter Delta caught a few of her followers off guard. And in the wake of her comments, the Frozen star’s fans couldn’t decide if she was in the right this time.
While they may be human like the rest of us, it sometimes feels like celebrities have been dropped from another world. And nowhere is this more apparent than when stars give out advice on raising kids. Now, raising a child is never easy. But somehow celebs seem to raise eyebrows whenever they share their parental experiences.
For instance, just take Alicia Silverstone. In 2012 the actress drew ire for sharing a video of her feeding son Bear Blu like a bird. Similarly, The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik caused a stir when she admitted in a 2011 Today piece to sleeping in the same bed as her five-year-old child.
And then there’s Kristen Bell. Normally, The Good Place star and mother of two is known for sharing some pretty solid opinions about parenting. And yet, that doesn’t mean the actress’ advice is always well received. Before she became a parent, though, Bell was putting in the hours as an up and coming actress in her 20s.
Yes, a stalwart of TV for almost two decades, Bell became familiar to millions at 24 through her starring role in Veronica Mars. After that, she transitioned into film roles with the likes of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat. However, perhaps her most famous film was the one where you didn’t even see her face – as Anna in 2013’s animated blockbuster Frozen.
Besides receiving acclaim and popularity for her acting, Bell would become one half of a celebrity power couple, too. You see, in 2007 she met Dax Shepard at a party, an encounter that left “no sparks whatsoever” as she told Today in 2019. However, a chance rendezvous at a hockey game a couple of weeks later left a better impression.
After spending the better part of the game flirting with each other, Bell and Shepard began dating. And over the course of two years, it became clear to both that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in each other’s company. So naturally, the pair decided to make their love official and became engaged in 2009.
With marriage four years away – the couple postponed their wedding until the legalization of same-sex marriages in California – Bell and Shepard considered their next step. Of course, as with most couples the pair looked towards parenthood. And yet becoming a mother was something that Bell had some reservations about.
Indeed, Bell – who at the time had just finished starring in Heroes – was worried about what having a child would mean for her career. “I was on this hustling hamster wheel of staying relevant and you know, going after my dreams,” she explained to The Motherly Podcast in 2020. Even Bell knew, however, she would need to settle down at some stage. “You don’t meet many grandmas who are like hustling,” she added.
Similarly, her husband-to-be was having trouble deciding if he was ready to be a father. So to determine if he and his partner were cut out for parenthood, Shepard came up with an ingenious test. “[He] said, ‘Let’s ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it’s worth it,’” Bell divulged.
At first, the two expected their pals to be “annoyingly blunt” about their upcoming life choices. But the answers they received were surprising to say the least. “Across the board, everyone said it was unmissable,” Bell recalled to Good Housekeeping in 2015. Consequently, the couple received the confirmation they needed to start their family in earnest.
Yes, soon afterwards Bell became pregnant with their first child. But even then, the actress didn’t feel at all “connected” with her child or the idea of becoming a parent. “I was like, ‘I don’t know you,’” she confessed. “‘I don’t know what you are. You give me some gas pains sometimes, but other than that we’re gonna have to meet each other and suss this relationship out,’” she told The Motherly Podcast.
Even when her daughter Lincoln was born in 2013, Bell was anxious. “At first I was like, ‘Eh, what do I do with it?,’” she joked. However, it didn’t take long for the star to change her mind. “I didn’t want to let her go,” the actress continued. “Having kids feels like that first seventh-grade crush that overwhelms every molecule in your body, but it’s permanent.”
Despite her prior reservations, Bell quickly took to being a mother. In fact, her love of parenting was so great that she gave birth to her and Shepard’s second child – a baby girl named Delta – just one year after Lincoln’s arrival. “The estrogen has now hit critical mass!,” the actress joked on Twitter soon after.
Of course, becoming a parent changes anybody’s life. But for Bell and Shepard, the arrival of Lincoln and Delta “cracked wide open” their perception of what life could be. As Bell explained on The Motherly Podcast, “living for something else” gave her “a whole new profound sense of self-esteem.”
In fact, since becoming a mother Bell has made it her mission to help parents across the country. Indeed, the actress has become a patron of such charitable institutions as the Good+Foundation and Baby to Baby. Alongside Shepard, she even created her own brand of baby products Hello Bello in 2019.
Moreover, the star hasn’t kept schtum about her experiences as a parent in the press. Indeed, Bell has become renowned for sharing her honest, insightful and often hilarious opinions on motherhood to her fans. From breastfeeding in public to being kind to other moms, the actress has spoken about it all.
Yes, Bell’s opinions on motherhood are so numerous that the star has even made it into an artform. Starting in 2018, the actress has appeared in the web series Momsplaining. And made in conjunction with Ellen DeGeneres, the series features Bell exploring the world of child rearing in her typically witty fashion.
But while she herself is keen to talk publicly about children, there is one thing that Bell absolutely won’t do. From day one of becoming a parent, the star has refused to share pictures of her children online. What’s more, she lobbied news sources not to publish photos of celebrity children and confronted paparazzi who have tried taking snaps of Lincoln and Delta.
With regard to her no-picture policy, Bell has always had her daughters’ safety and privacy in mind. However, this stance has not been without controversy. And in 2019, a promo for Hello Bello which featured the star on screen alongside a child actor – named Jordan in the commercial – didn’t sit well with some fans.
Taking issue with Bell featuring a child in the clip, Instagram patron @kateshawismyname argued that the actress was a hypocrite. “So your kids deserve privacy but you don’t mind exploiting other people’s children for monetary gain?” she wrote. In this case, Bell was quick to clapback, saying that the two things simply weren’t comparable.
“If we expose our kids faces, there is a real threat of them getting stalked, or of a stranger coming up to them and knowing their name,” Bell replied. Moreover, she asserted that the child actor’s anonymity was just as well respected as her own kids. “Jordan is not [her] real name, FYI,” the actress added.
And yet this wouldn’t be the last time that Bell’s attitudes to parenting would be called into question. You see, in May 2020 the star devoted an episode of Momsplaining to the issue of mothers being judged online and in public. And ironically, the episode resulted in the actress’ parental skills being judged more harshly than ever.
Beginning the episode with a monologue to camera, Bell opined how today is “an interesting time” to be a mother. “Used to be that your mother-in-law was the only one that had an opinion on how you change a diaper,” she said, “and now everyone on the internet has an opinion too. We should get a badge for every judgment we face.”
Following that, Bell was joined by her showbiz parenting pals Maya Rudolph and Carey Wilson. And over the course of the show, the three spoke honestly about their most embarrassing moments as a parent. At one point, they even played a round of “Never Have I Ever” of mortifying moments every parent makes.
Throughout the segment, the trio shared a litany of shameful stories including fessing up to forgetting their children in public places. Bell even admitted to accidentally serving a ball into her daughter’s face during a game of four square. Despite all the blunders so honestly divulged, however, the most talked about confession would somehow also be the most innocuous.
Early on in the show, Bell read aloud a Tweet from a fan concerning parents who find their children easy to manage. From there, the actress and her guests revealed moments where they’d come face to face with so-called perfect parents. This in turn led Bell to contrast her own experience with potty-training as a first-time mother, and potty-training with her second child.
With Lincoln, it seems, getting her to transition out of diapers was an easy feat. “At 21 months, we merely suggested that she use the toilet in the other room,” Bell bragged. “Never wore a diaper beyond that. And we were lying in bed giggling. My husband and I like, ‘Why does everybody make such a big deal about this?’”
Nonetheless, the exact opposite was the case with Bell’s second. Yes, rather than take to using a toilet immediately, Delta was finding the transition a little harder to manage. And this led Bell to announce that at five-and-a-half years old Delta was still wearing diapers.
Now, it’s safe to say that Bell’s confession did little to upset the people in the room. Indeed, Rudolph and Wilson both seemed unperturbed by the admission and continued their discussion as normal. However, the statement made a bigger impression online with some fans taking the actress’ honesty to task.
Yes, after the video aired on YouTube, a viewer named Mae took to Twitter with their thoughts on Bell’s confession. Specifically, the social media follower criticized the star’s stance on privacy in telling this delicate story to the public. “Why would @KristenBell relate this humiliating fact about her child, along with identifying details like her name?,” they enquired.
Certainly, the fact that they’re still wearing diapers could be a source of embarrassment to any five-year-old. And as detailed by Healthline, it’s typically unusual to find a child who hasn’t yet been potty-trained after three years of age. However, the actress was quick to respond to the criticism and asserted that Delta had nothing to be ashamed of.
Responding to the Tweet, Bell pointed out that diapers weren’t a 24/7 occurrence for Delta. “She’s only in diapers at night, which is pretty normal for a five year old who’s tiny bladder can’t take the 10hr challenge yet,” the star confirmed. What’s more, Bell asserted that her daughter still had nothing to be ashamed of.
“I also don’t think it’s humiliating if ur kid wears diapers late,” the actress opined. “Everyone is different. My five year [old] wouldn’t be embarrassed even if she was wearing diapers during the day! She’s confident and goofy & doesn’t see anything about her beautiful unique self…to apologize for.”
For some, her explanation did little to change their minds. Following the comment, one user asked the star if Delta would still be wearing diapers at 14 – a question Bell quickly dismissed. Another likened Delta’s situation to the horror film We Need to Talk About Kevin in which a late blooming child eventually grows up to be a killer.
Meanwhile, the feedback on Instagram was far worse. Under an unrelated picture of Bell’s daughters – with their faces blocked out – user stephanysherlock3 raged that she and Shepard “should be ashamed of yourselves” for Delta’s toilet training. “You are teaching your daughter a bad habit,” the follower said. “Step up lady!”
But for all of her detractors, there were people who came to Bell’s aid. In fact, one claimed to be an early childhood teacher and insisted that Delta’s dilemma was one shared by many five-year-olds. “I don’t know why people get so wound up about toilet training,” they wrote. “A fake race in the Mommy Wars going back generations!”
For others, the actress’ admission was a refreshing change and inadvertently appeared to provide reassurance. As a user named Corneliafs wrote, Bell’s words made her feel more secure as a parent. “I thought I was the only mom struggling and felt like a complete failure,” she revealed. “I bow to you. Ignore the haters.”
Suffice to say, Bell’s words split her fan base in half. And yet, the actress was stunned that a seemingly innocuous comment could divide her followers so sharply. “It’s so interesting to me that you’re all paying attention to and commenting on such a non issue in my family,” she wrote on Twitter.
More to the point, the argument arose from a video about mom shaming – a point her detractors seemingly missed. In conclusion, the actress even urged viewers to “give moms the benefit of the doubt” before making their judgments online. And coming from a mom as honest as Bell, we’re inclined to see that as advice worth taking.