Kristen Bell: Saved By the Bell

The Burlesque beauty and Gossip Girl narrator opens up for the first time about how marriage inequality has stalled her plans to wed fiancé Dax Shepard.

BY Brandon Voss

February 17 2012 4:00 AM ET

Kristen Bell and Zachary Quinto in Heroes X390 (SOURCED) | ADVOCATE.COMBurlesque didn’t exactly get the best reviews. How did you feel when it took on a life as a cult classic in the vein of Showgirls?
Oh, I love that it’s become a guilty pleasure, especially among gay people. Of course, Christina Aguilera and Cher are also very vocal in their support of the gay community, so we’re all over the moon that they’ve celebrated the movie. Truth be told, it was really a love letter to the gay community in many ways.

Have you kept in touch with Cher?
Yeah, I’m happy to be able to tell you that I do keep in touch with her. I absolutely fell in love with her on that movie, because she’s so hilarious, honest, and original. She texts me at random times, maybe once a month. She loves to text. She usually texts me, “Hey, bitch. XO, Me.” She’s a really special woman who’s done it all and done it brilliantly. I’m in awe that I know her.

While shooting Burlesque, you told Health magazine, “I’m 99 percent sure I will leave this movie a lesbian.” How’d that work out?
Well, the women on that film were just so beautiful. Thank God for Dax Shepard. Unfortunately for all the women in America, he’s the most charming, adorable human walking the planet, so I couldn’t make the switch.

I’m not sure if you’ve set a Google Alert on yourself, but that lesbian quote went totally viral.
I don’t have a Google Alert on myself because I’m not a fucking lunatic, but I do have a habit of giving ridiculous soundbytes that I later hear about from my publicist. At the House of Lies premiere, someone asked, “Do you think you and Dax will have a little comedy baby?” I said, “Absolutely. It’ll be our gift to America.” Of course, that became a headline, and I’m praying that people know I was being sarcastic. But you know what? If you don’t get my sense of humor, oh well.

Because you’ve been engaged for more than two years, reporters often ask about your wedding plans.
Yeah, I get a ton of questions about when Dax and I are getting married. I usually blow them off because it’s nobody’s business. To be honest with you — and this is the first time I’ve ever said this to a journalist, but it feels like the perfect time and place — the reason we’re not rushing to get married is because I don’t feel appropriate taking advantage of a right that’s denied to my best friends. That’s why we’ve been so hesitant. Dax and I have talked about it a lot, and this issue is very important to both of us. We’re just standing up for what we believe in. Period.

Thank you for sharing that.
You’re welcome. Listen, we’re on your side. I recently tweeted about this embarrassing poster that shows how many states where you can marry your same-sex significant other and how many more states where you can marry your cousin. It’s fucking ridiculous.

You currently play Jeannie, an ambitious management consultant, on Showtime’s House of Lies. The series also tackles a storyline that’s particularly resonated with LGBT viewers.
Yes, Don Cheadle’s character, Marty, has a son named Roscoe who is a cross-dressing 12 year old. The storyline is about how Marty deals with it. What do you do with a son who auditions for and gets the role of Sandy in Grease? How do you deal with a son who wants to go shoe shopping and has an obsession with Juicy Couture? When you see a child that young identifying that way, what’s your course of action to best support that? It’s an interesting topic that no one’s really handled like this before, and it’s explored beautifully in the show. When I first read the script, I thought it was very smart, and I felt it was really necessary to put that on television. It’s a great step toward making that a more acceptable topic.

A gender-nonconformist character on a comedy series always runs the risk of being exploited for cheap laughs.
We have LGBT members in our writers’ room and on our crew, and I believe it’s handled very respectfully. I feel that you can rest easy. I don’t think there’s anything offensive about it. There are definitely things about Roscoe that will make you chuckle, just because you’re going to chuckle when you see an adorably handsome young man wearing sparkles and Juicy sweatpants, but it’s never disrespectful. Most of the time you’re seeing his father’s vulnerability as he wonders how to do what’s best for his son.

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