The real reason Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor are back together

While relationships between celebs are notorious for being short-lived, once in a while, a couple breaks the mold. For years, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor were one of those couples, until they announced their split in 2017 after 17 years of marriage and 18 years together.

"With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate," they said in a statement (via Us Weekly). "Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time."

Far from becoming yet another Hollywood statistic, though, Stiller and Taylor later defied the odds. In 2019, the pair were spotted together several times, including at the Emmys, as noted by People. While fans were surprised to see the couple back together, they were also excited to see that the longtime couple had seemingly worked things out. What led to Taylor and Stiller getting back together?

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor never got divorced

In 2019, a source told Closer Weekly that the couple — who had never finalized their divorce — had never stopped caring for each other and wanted to give their relationship "another shot." The source added, "[Ben Stiller] never got over her after the split nor was he interested in starting a relationship with anyone else whilst they were separated."

Through their separation, the couple remained dedicated to co-parenting their children, which may have kept them close. Another source told Star (via Closer Weekly) that Stiller blamed himself for the rough patch and had "started to wonder if he didn't put enough work into the relationship." They added, "They had their problems, but Ben knows he's never going to meet someone like her again."

While Taylor and Stiller don't seem to have publicly commented on their relationship status recently, it seems like the celebrity couple may get their happily ever after after all.

How did Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor meet?

Like many Hollywood celebs, Stiller and Taylor met at work. They first connected on the set of Heat Vision and Jack, a 1999 TV pilot that was never picked up. Stiller served as the director of the sci-fi show, which starred Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Ron Silver, and Taylor. According to Stiller, it was love at first sight. "When I met her, I pretty much thought, 'That's the person,'" the actor told ET in 2007. "It was like, 'Wow, this is a great person.'"

The couple would go on to work together several more times over the following decades, notably in Zoolander, Zoolander 2, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder, and Arrested Development. "It's the best," Taylor told the outlet in 2016 of what it was like to work together. "I mean, I think that, you know, the reality is there's such an unspoken connection. I feel like for us, when we first met, it was on set... He's amazing."

Ben Stiller proposed to Christine Taylor in a very traditional way

Stiller said that when he proposed to Taylor, dealing with her family wasn't unlike what his character in 2000's Meet the Parents — which he was rehearsing at the time — had to go through with his protective in-laws. The celeb told Parade that asking Taylor's dad for permission to propose "was like Meet the Parents in real life, because Christine's father is an intimidating guy who owns a security company." Stiller added that he was more nervous about getting permission from Taylor's dad than he was of actually proposing, although he did say that his father-in-law "was very welcoming."

Stiller also revealed in the interview that his relationship with Taylor "was a gradual thing that happened over a quick period of time, maybe seven or eight months." He continued, "We just started hanging out with each other and it developed into, 'Wow, this feels great. I really like this person. I think I love this person. I really do — I love this person.' It hit me out of the blue."

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor have stayed strong

Stiller and Taylor faced a lot of ups and downs together, outside of the normal hardships faced by any couple. Throughout everything, the couple remained strong and supportive of each other, such as through Stiller's battle with prostate cancer.

"At first, I didn't know what was going to happen," Stiller said on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show (via Honey). "I was scared. The one thing that it does is it just stops everything in your life when you get diagnosed with cancer because you can't plan for a movie — you don't know what's going to happen."

Stiller later underwent surgery to have his prostate removed. The ordeal was no doubt a difficult time for the couple, but is proof that they have what it takes to weather any storm.