According to those in the know (by which we mean the folks over at Celebrity Net Worth, Dax Shephard is worth the vast sum of $40 million. Considering his resume includes the titles of actor, writer, director, podcast host, and husband to Kristin Bell, it’s probably not too surprising his wallet’s heaving at the seams these days. But how exactly did it get quite so big? Grab a coffee, make yourself comfortable, and prepare to find out.
The Early Years
Shepard was born in Highland Township, Oakland County, Michigan, to Laura LaBo and David Robert "Dave" Shepard, Sr. His mother started her career as a janitor at GM Motors, but by the time Dax hit his teens, she was sat at the top of a vast car empire. Throughout high school, Dax worked for his mother on the road. Despite developing a life-long love for cars as a result, he knew his future lay in another direction… although for most the most part, he had no real ambitions of becoming a ‘serious thespian’. Comedy was what made the young Dax tick, and it would be comedy that he’d first purse after graduating UCLA magna cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology.
In 1996, Dax made the move to LA. After learning about The Groundlings from a friend, he auditioned for the improv group, spending the next 5 years taking classes at the theatre while juggling his studies at UCLA. Eventually, he managed to land a place alongside Melissa McCarthy, Fortune Feimster, Tate Taylor, and Nat Faxon on the Sunday Company of The Groundlings – from there, the only way was up….even if the journey did get off to a slow start.
In 2003 (and after several years of getting nowhere fast), Dax became friendly with Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher invited Dax to audition for Punk’d – he proved successful, got an agent on Kutcher’s recommendation, and, with the door to Hollywood now open (at least a crack), Dax finally began making headway.
Getting Into Film
Dax’s first acting job after landing Punk’d was in the 2004 comedy, Without a Paddle, starring Seth Green and Matthew Lillard. A critical stinker but a box office success, the film put Dax firmly on the map. Within the year, he was offered the starring role of The Astronaut in the sci-fi fantasy film, Zathura: A Space Adventure. Since then, he’s gone on to appear and star in a fleet of further films, including Employee of the Month (2006), Idiocracy (2006), Let's Go to Prison (2006), The Comebacks (2007), Confessions of an Action Star (2008), When in Rome (2010), Hit and Run (2012), This Is Where I Leave You (2014), The Judge (2014), and El Camino Christmas (2017).
Since his Punk’d days, Dax has turned into a regular fixture on our screens. After appearing in the likes of King of the Hill (2004 – 2008), My Name Is Earl (2005), Robot Chicken (2005- 2016), The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show (2007), and The Goode Family (2009), he landed his first lead role in 2010 when he was cast as Crosby Braverman on the NBC drama Parenthood. In 2018, he scored another lead role with the character of Luke Matthews on The Ranch (which coincidently, just so happened to include old buddy Ashton Kutcher in its line up). Since 2019, he’s also starred as Mike in the single-camera sitcom Bless This Mess.
In 2019, it was announced that Dax had scored one of his biggest gigs to date as one of the new presenters of Top Gear America. The all- American reboot of the classic British show is set to air from spring 2020, and it’s already generating some serious buzz - even if a lot of that is coming from the direction of the BBC Studios. "We're thrilled that the U.S. fans of our global franchise will be able to continue to relish in all that is Top Gear -- excitement, fun, and passion," Matt Forde, managing director of international production at BBC Studios, has said. "The clear chemistry between Dax, Rob, and Jethro, in combination with the challenges and car stunts -- ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary -- are certain to make Top Gear America a new fan favorite."
In February 2018, Dax added a new line to his resume with the launch of the podcast Armchair Expert. The podcast revolves around Dax and co-host Monica Padman interviewing celebrities, journalists, and academics about "the messiness of being human”. The lineup of guests to have featured so far reads like a who’s who guide to Hollywood, with everyone from Dax’s wife Kristen Bell to Ashton Kutcher, Will Ferrell, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus clambering for a spot on the half-hour show. The show has proved just as popular with listeners as it has with its guests, even earning the title of most popular new podcast on iTunes in 2018.
Until recently, Kristen and Dax’s private life was exactly that. And then the COVID-19 crisis happened, and with it, a little light was shed on what the couple get up to when they’re not on camera. As reported by E!, the couple have been uncovered as property moguls, owning a number of rented properties throughout California. The news came to light after it was discovered they’d waived the rent collection in April to help ease the financial strain on tenants suffering as a result of the pandemic, earning them the title of not only the most famous landlords in the state, but quite possibly the nicest.
So, how did Dax manage to get that giant fortune? In a word: work. Since graduating, Dax has been plugging away at the entertainment biz like a man possessed; sure, he may have had a bit of a slow start, but thanks to a tireless work ethic, a hefty dollop of humor, and the love of a good woman, he made it to the top anyway.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee