Tom Arnold has some very generous friends. Appearing on The Wendy Williams Show on Thursday, Jan. 30, the comedian revealed that he'd gotten a very selfless offer from pals Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard when he and his fourth wife, Ashley Groussman, were struggling to conceive a baby.
"I have a very low sperm count," Arnold, 54, explained. "I found out in college, at the University of Iowa. I worked at the hospital school, and they said, 'Hey, you can donate blood or plasma,' which I always did for beer money. And then there was a sign that said, 'You can donate sperm for $35.' And I was like, 'Now I know what I'm doing with my life! I'll do that three times a day!' And they [tested] it, and they were like, 'Yeah, your sperm doesn't work.'"
Arnold tried — and failed — to have a baby with each of his first three wives, Roseanne Barr, Julie Lynn Champnella, and Shelby Roos. And he tried again with Groussman, now 38. All told, he went through 21 rounds of in vitro fertilization with his spouses. And until 2012, he'd basically "given up" on ever becoming a father.
Things seemed even more hopeless after Groussman's second miscarriage. "She was three, four months [along]," he told Williams. "Because I'd been down this road, I knew in my heart it wouldn't work. I wanted to go immediately to a doc. I wanted to do a sperm donor."
And not just any sperm donor. "My friend Dax Shepherd offered to donate his sperm, and his wife Kristen Bell allowed that, and it was about the nicest thing ever," he revealed of his costars in the movie Hit and Run. "And I wanted to do that. But Ashley wanted to keep trying." (Bell and Shepard welcomed their own little bundle of joy, daughter Lincoln, in March 2013.)
Eventually, Groussman got pregnant again — with a little help from Sharon Stone. "Sharon Stone is really nice, a great friend. She's done so well, she has a wonderful family," Arnold, host of CMT's new series My Big Redneck Family, said. "She writes, she says, 'Go to this guy,' and we basically met with him, and we were coming out of there and we found out, 'Oh [Ashley's] pregnant."
The couple, who married in 2009, welcomed son Jax last April. And judging by Arnold's cheerful demeanor and adoring words for his baby boy, things are going well for the first-time father and fourth-time husband. Asked what makes his marriage to Groussman work, the actor replied, "She does, obviously."
"It's funny because people say, 'Well, does it bother Ashley when she sees pictures of you and Roseanne?' And it doesn't, because Ashley was like 12," he joked. "So, she doesn't have a visceral [reaction]… she doesn't go, 'Oh, that's my husband and his ex-wife.' She goes, 'Oh, that's an old, bad reality show we used to watch when we were kids.'"