Christine Taylor is revealing details about her and Ben Stiller‘s decision to separate in 2017 and, later, reconcile during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 51-year-old actress opened up about their relationship to her Wedding Singer costar Drew Barrymore on The Drew Barrymore Show Tuesday, recalling how she and Stiller, 57, “knew each other six months, got engaged, were married within a year, then had [daughter Ella, now 20] the next year.”
“Family was always a priority, but I think Ben and I both started to grow in different directions,” Taylor told Barrymore, 48. “And when we made the decision to separate, it was not something we wanted to talk publicly about or took lightly.”
The actress said that at the time of their separation, she and her husband “were at this impasse of, ‘Let’s figure this out — what’s best at this chapter in our lives?’ That’s going back three or four years. And [during] that time apart, we got to know who we are.”
“I think we have these growth spurts, even as adults. And we needed time to figure that out,” Taylor explained to Barrymore.
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In May 2017, the couple released a joint statement to PEOPLE announcing their separation after 17 years of marriage.
Almost five years later, the Meet the Parents actor revealed the couple got back together in an interview with Esquire published in February 2022.
Throughout 2018, the pair had been spotted together during several outings, including getting dinner in Manhattan, at the 2018 US Open with daughter Ella and at the 2018 Project ALS Gala with both Ella and their younger child, 17-year-old son Quinlin.
“We always stayed a family unit,” Taylor told Barrymore on Tuesday’s episode of her show. “So when the pandemic hit and we all had to figure out where to hunker down, we all ended up in our house together with two teenagers and we found this way back.”
“We had so much time to talk, there were no other distractions … it just happened organically,” the Brady Bunch Movie actress added.
While discussing his Super Bowl commercial with Pepsi Zero Sugar that aired during the big game last month, Stiller also told PEOPLE that he had “a great time” appearing on Taylor’s podcast Hey Dude … The 90s Called! in January.
“I got such a kick out of the fact that she was doing a podcast, because she’d never been the biggest podcast fan before,” the actor said about Taylor’s show, which premiered in December 2022.
“She said, ‘I’m going to do this podcast about Hey Dude,’ which has this really amazing fanbase, this show from the ’90s, and kind of focusing on the ’90s,” Stiller added of his wife’s Nickelodeon series. “And she’s great at it — her and David Lascher, her co-host, because they were both on the show. So for fans of the show, it’s been great.”
The couple are no strangers to professional collaboration themselves: They worked together on the movies Zoolander, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder and Zoolander 2.