It takes a lot to have one role define your career. Some actors are stuck there while others can succeed wildly. The latter category should certainly include Kristen Bell. In 2004, she burst onto the scene with Veronica Mars, the UPN/CW series about a teenage private eye. It ran for three seasons with a massive amount of critical acclaim and a devoted cult following. Indeed, a decade later, fans raised millions for a big-screen movie to bring the show back. By which point, Bell was established as a fine Hollywood star.
Bell has starred in hits like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Boss, and Bad Moms, which is about to have a Christmas sequel. Of course, she also voiced Anna in the animated epic Frozen for a new generation of fans. She’s also busy on TV with House of Lies and the current NBC hit The Good Place where she plays a jerk so very well.
The woman is just a wonderful figure, vibrant, funny, not overtly sexy but still a true knockout. She seems authentic in everything she does, from her marriage to Dax Shepherd, to raising kids and taking part in slews of charities. A Bell interview is always lively and fun and she enjoys sharing a lot about herself. But some stuff may not be known, even to some of her biggest fans. It’s not like Bell is private but there’s so much about her that sparks that it’s impressive to see and adds to her appeal. Whether you know her from TV, movies or just a great gal on social media, here are 15 things you didn’t know about Bell to enjoy her more.
15. She Was The Only Girl On Her Baseball Team
Bell is a self-professed tomboy and she can actually back it up. She’s quite athletic, insisting on doing stunts if she can and staying in major shape. As a kid, Bell broke both wrists playing street hockey but was back at it as soon as the casts came off and still can hold her own on a pair of skates. More impressive still, Bell was the one girl on her school baseball team and proved herself a pretty decent player. She eventually drifted to acting but keeps up with her baseball love. Bell also cracks jokes about a photo from that period which included what she calls “the rare female mullet” from her mother. Bell is also a hockey fan, passionate for the Detroit Red Wings (having grown up in Michigan) and keeps up with other sports. The woman is strong, vibrant and funny yet also showcases a good athletic style – another reason why she’s so loved.
14. Her First Role Almost Didn’t Happen
Bell had been doing the rounds for some time in various musicals on Broadway before trying commercials and other bits. She had a brush with possible fame as she auditioned for the role of Chloe Sullivan on Smallville, which ended up going to Allison Mack. In 2002, she landed her first part as a school gal in the nutty comedy Pootie Tang. The send-up of Blaxploitation films focused on a supposedly super-smooth guy who talks in barely understandable phrases. Bell was to mock him before a look from him causes her to scream as if in ecstasy. But the troubled movie ended up cutting her line and she only popped up in the credits. It did get her foot in the door, leading to bits like a con artist on Deadwood before the Veronica script landed on her lap. Today, Bell rolls her eyes at how her career began and it’s amazing how this very tiny role launched such a big star.
13. She Once Helped Deliver Babies
Bell is well known for her charity work. She loves animals and rescues dogs in her spare time (which made her the target of an Ashton Kutcher Punk’d episode). She supports PETA and various vegetarian groups and also takes part in the annual Race for MS event. A popular video had Bell and her husband in Africa for some charity work and being amazed at how much there was to do. The biggest bit was during a trip to Brazil as Bell actually helped deliver two babies while in a village. She admits she was taken aback, but it helped her experiences with motherhood later. Recently, Bell got more press for when she was stuck in Orlando during Hurricane Irma and spent her time at a local school doing songs to keep spirits up. She also volunteered at a retirement home to help keep supplies going and has led a wave of charities to help donate to victims of the disaster. She’s hot, yes, but Bell’s amazing heart is a real reason to love her.
12. Her Dream Batman Role Is Harley Quinn
It seems surprising that Bell has yet to do a comic book movie. Her closest brush was on the second season of Heroes as the psychotic, electricity-wielding Elle. Fans loved it but the show hit a creative slump that failed to give her as much screen time as they hoped for before the character was killed off. Bell is a comic book geek big time and has lobbied for some roles whenever a new project comes up. She has made it clear her dream role is Harley Quinn, the Joker’s nutcase girlfriend. The role was eventually filled by Margot Robbie in the Suicide Squad movie, but Bell has made it clear she would have loved to play it herself. Bell did provide a voice for Astro Boy, based on the beloved Japanese comic book hero, but has yet to find a comic book role for herself. True, Anna is more beloved by so many, but one can hope to see Bell wielding some spandex heroine (or villain) down the road.
11. She Has A (Weird) Textile Addiction
Bell admits having a few odd quirks. She loves animals, is a serious vegan and there is the infamous video of her breaking down crying over a sloth. But one thing you may not be aware of is that Bell has a self-professed addiction to textiles. It’s clear she loves sweaters and other textiles and has a serious affinity for rugs. She even went through a period buying up everything from Turkish to Moroccan when she had roommates who were complaining that they had no room for all of these. “I could spend all night going through a rug website and zone out.” She also admits to already having far too many sweaters but will buy a new one in the summer if she can. On that, Bell admits that like many, she just can’t resist a sale and even if she doesn’t need it, she’ll still buy something just because it’s half-off the price and will use coupons when she can. Good to know even Bell is prone to odd shopping habits.
10. In the ‘90s, Bell Was A Hardcore Gamer
Bell has a geek gal vibe which has always helped her charisma out with fans. Her beauty is great but matched by a tomboyish attitude that lets guys think she’s one of them. That includes how, in the 1990s, Bell was a pretty hardcore gamer. “When systems first came out I was all over regular Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega, N64. My N64 was the only thing I couldn’t live without in college.” She cites everything from Mario Kart to Goldeneye as games that sucked up hours of her time. She explains that’s faded as she’s way too busy to get into gaming as much. In fact, she’s actually turned to board games as more engaging for her and her kids. But she hasn’t let it go as she provided a voice for the hit Assassin’s Creed games (as well as her likeness) and reprising the voice of Anna for Disney Infinity. So beware trying to do some old-school gaming against Bell as she’s pretty good at it.
9. She Was Once A Wedding Singer
While a great actress, Bell is also known for a very good singing voice. She played a part in Reefer Madness, a Showtime musical based on the infamous cult movie with some very sexy dance scenes. She also performed “Fame” at the Emmy Awards and some talk shows. Quite obviously, there was her voicing Anna in Frozen with her lovely voice on display. As it turns out, Bell had long experience with this as she and some friends made money in their teen years going around singing for events. That includes weddings, the group rather popular doing some singing there and the occasional funeral with other events. Bell cites it as her early break performing and even did some singing at her own wedding to Dax Shepherd. She also cracks on how friends push her to do some singing at parties and she goes along with it, a master of everything from show tunes to rapping. Her voice is as great as the rest of her and shows her fine experience off.
8. She Loves Dessert
Once a meat-eater, Bell became a vegetarian when she was a teenager. That’s been more her style as she boasts on how she loves the vegetarian diet and how she’s more comfortable with it. She loves cooking, doing it with a lot of eggs and other items, the occasional pizza but leaning on the healthy side a lot. Bell emphasizes an easy style of cooking, noting that with two kids and a busy schedule, she doesn’t have the time or energy to do a huge meal with deep cooking and dishes. She loves to share on Instagram her various dishes and talks in magazines about her diet and how she prepares her meals. She says she took a 30 day “no sugar” challenge a few years back and has stuck to it since. She also says she’s basically eliminated alcohol, at first due to her pregnancy but keeping to it since. But Bell admits that desserts are her weakness as she has them for every meal, even breakfast. Her great body shows how well this diet works and how she ignores packing on pounds.
7. Cellphones Are Not Safe Around Her
In 2006, Bell tried her hand at movie stardom with Pulse, a low-rent thriller about a cell phone that sends out waves that drive people to murder. It did quite poorly in theaters, vanishing fast and forgotten. In 2007, Bell had her first real movie hit in the title role of the comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. At one point, her on-screen boyfriend (Jason Segel) cracks about Sarah’s upcoming role in a movie about killer cellphones. Bell was convinced this was a shot against her, but Segel insisted he had never even heard of Pulse and was amazed someone did that for real. As it happens, Bell has admitted that she and cellphones don’t get along very well. She claims to have to buy multiple cases for her phones as she’s constantly dropping them everywhere. Bell also claims that one phone just overloaded in her hand from so many apps and that she does more damage to them than her kids do. So looks like that movie wasn’t far off given Bell’s hate of phones.
6. She’s A Massive Game Of Thrones Fan
Naturally, Bell has a lot of loves. She was a huge fan of Star Wars and proved it when she starred in the comedy Fanboys. That included the highlight of her dressed in the classic “Slave Leia” metal bikini. She also cites a love for comic book movies and bawdy comedies. But Bell is also the self-professed “biggest fan” of Game of Thrones. She talks in interviews about how obsessed she is with the series and geeked out majorly running into the cast at the Emmy Awards. She and Dax Shepherd did a great video of “playing” the theme song while dressed as various characters and showing up for the big season premiere parties dressed up. Bell gushes about the show constantly and how much she loves it in a way that’s truly adorable. She’ll tweet out live reactions to episodes and makes it clear she would take a cameo in a heartbeat (sadly, they never called her up for one). She may have risen to fame in one cult show but Bell wears her love of GOT on her sleeve big time.
5. Her Family Called Her A Different Name
Unlike many in Hollywood, “Kristen Bell” is her real name. But she has gone by a few odd aliases in her time. As a kid, she actually disliked her first name and, at four years old, declared she would no longer use it. So her mom allowed her to go along with her middle name and she kept it up until high school. Thus, we could be knowing her as Anne Bell instead. Also, for a long period, Bell would only answer to the name of Smurfette as a huge fan of the classic cartoon. She would only come out with that name and her parents refused to use it. So Bell responded that she would answer instead to “Matthew”, but her parents refused that as well. Thus, she settled on Annie, both for her middle name and a fan of the classic musical. It took her being moved to a Catholic high school to get back to Kristen as that was the name her teachers insisted on using. She still goes by Anne to some friends, but can also answer to Smurfette to show her charm no matter her name.
4. Love Of Disney Nabbed Her The Frozen Role
For all her work in live-action, Bell’s biggest success was voicing Anna in the smash hit Frozen. Like everyone else, she had no idea the movie would become a huge success and true phenomenon. Bell has noted how bizarre it is that a role she played is now a mainstay of Disney parks and even played by Elizabeth Lail on Once Upon a Time. As it turned out, Bell had some experience with Disney already as she had been a fan of animated movies as a kid. She was addicted to The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, loving the songs and style and an early inspiration for her career. It’s paid off with her working with the company and ready for a Frozen sequel. Bell and Disney remain on good terms as she voiced a sloth in the hit Zootopia. She also appeared as herself on the Disney Chanel series Liv & Maddie to send herself up as a woman ready to trash some reporters. It shows how loving the Mouse House early can lead to big success down the road.
3. She Won’t Bare It All
She’s teased it a few times, the closest being when she took part in Allure magazine’s annual “look good naked” issue with her covering her chest on a beach. But Bell has made it clear nudity is not something she’ll be doing on camera. Indeed, her Showtime series House of Lies was supposed to have her character doing some steamy bedroom scenes. However, Bell told the producers she wasn’t going to go that all-out and thus did the scene in her underwear. Likewise, a wild sex scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall had her in a bikini rather than going nude as the script had it and she has used the occasional body double. If anything, having kids just increases Bell’s stance on this, wanting to be a good role model. It’s surprising given how naughty some of her on-screen roles can be (such as the Bad Moms films) and her raunchy style of humor. But for those hoping, it seems highly unlikely that Bell will ever show the goods on camera.
2. She’s A Biker Gal
No, it’s not the kind of biking you’re thinking about. Although Bell does claim to enjoy a nice motorcycle ride when she can. But as it turns out, she’s more a fan of the traditional ten-speeder, citing it as a great way to get in shape. Indeed, before she became famous, Bell relied on a bike to get around and enjoys the style, even teaching her kids how to do it. She says she was a mo-ped fan but that ended when she accidentally burned her legs shooting a scene for When In Rome. She prefers biking a lot, showing off and has a good time with it. Her husband Dax Shepherd does go for motorcycles more and, in fact, bought a special three-person bike when making CHIPS. That got Bell upset as she rightly argued their kids were way too young to take to motorcycling just yet. She even shared it on Instagram with the line “WTF is on my lawn right now?!” So while she’s got the typical family mini-van, expect to see Bell on a bike more often.
1. She Knew The Good Place Twist Before Anyone Else
Here’s a major SPOILER alert but it’s still notable. The Good Place was already a winner for its fun antics as Bell’s Eleanor tries to hide how she’s a bad person in a heavenly neighborhood. But everyone was rocked by the shocking twist in its first season finale. As Eleanor and her three friends argue about who is sent to the Bad Place, Eleanor is hit with a realization: “This is the Bad Place!” At which point, the genial goofy Michael (Ted Danson) breaks into a laughing grin that would do the Joker proud. Except for the main four, everyone else in the neighborhood is a demon and the whole thing is set up to torture the characters for eternity. This sets up a brilliant dynamic for the second season as Michael wipes their memories to put them through hundreds more of these scenarios but every time Eleanor figures it out. So, worried about his bosses finding out he’s failed, Michael works with the group to figure things out.
It was a fantastic turn and from the start, Bell knew it. Creator Michael Schur had conceived this turn and as soon as Bell was cast, he let her in on it as he knew that would affect her performance. The only other cast member who knew was Danson as Schur knew that would better work his turn with how the seemingly good-guy Michael was a demon all along. But the rest of the cast was totally in the dark all season long. In fact, Bell did a video of the table read where they found out the truth for fantastic reactions. It’s now clear Bell had to be enjoying herself during the first season of Place to know the big joke was on viewers.