The actor, 47, who has been married to Kristen Bell, 42, since 2013, addressed the headline on Instagram on Sunday, where he posted a photo of a recent cover of Star.
On the cover, it reads: “Hollywood’s most henpecked husbands,” before claiming that Shepard is “banned from hanging with friends,” while alleging that Affleck, who is married to Jennifer Lopez, is “treated like an assistant”. According to the tabloid, Urban, who is married to Nicole Kidman, “must call home by 10pm”.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, henpecked means “to subject (one’s spouse or partner) to persistent nagging and domination”.
In the caption of the Instagram post, Shepard jokingly suggested that the tabloid headline was a reference to a new movie, titled: “Henpecked,” and starring him, Affleck and Urban.
“So excited and proud to share that I am apparently starring in a film called ‘Henpecked’ with Ben Affleck and Keith Urban. SO exciting. Have not read the script yet, but apparently it’s already been shot,” the actor wrote. “It appears I play ‘No Friends Guy,’ who is clearly second banana to Ben’s character ‘Assistant.’”
In the caption, Shepard then claimed that, of all the roles in the fictional new film, Urban has it the “hardest,” because he likely wants to be home by 10.
“He, like me, probably WANTS to be in by 10, but the fact that he’s been told he can’t stay out later makes him reflexively want to stay out until 11,” Shepard continued. “This contradiction is fertile ground for a talented thespian.”
Shepard concluded the post expressing his excitement over the movie, adding: “Can’t wait to see it!!!!”
In the comments under Shepard’s post, many, including fellow celebrities, applauded the actor for the amusing response to the headline.
“I just dropped out. You must have gotten my role. You’ll have to grow your hair longer and I hope you’re cool with nudity. Break legs, pal,” John Stamos commented.
Jake Tapper also responded to the post, with the journalist writing: “I read for that. Big character arc in act three when you go home to your amazing wife and kids and live a happy life. Congrats!”
The post prompted a response from Zooey Deschanel as well, with the actor joking: “I love this movie!”
“Well if you have to be henpecked best to be henpecked by Kristen Bell,” another person joked.
While many were amused by Shepard’s response, others praised him for calling out the sexist headline.
“Got to love a media publication continuing the age old adage of women being shrews and men being victims. Wish they would get a new narrative,” one person commented, while another said: “In a world of toxic masculinity and gender roles, it’s not a surprise that an emotionally evolved man is criticised. Keep up the good work!”
“What a healthy and funny response,” someone else wrote. “You never know. It might be a great movie. You should write something like that.”
Although Shepard offered a humorous response to the headline, he previously discussed the importance of empowering women during a conversation with E! News about how he and Bell raise their two daughters, Delta and Lincoln.
“You love them; you try to give them opportunities to build self-esteem and believe in themselves. You can’t tell someone they’re great. You have to give them opportunities to prove to themselves they’re great,” he said of the pair’s parenting techniques, before adding: “I think the more empowered women are, the better off we all are.”