Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor split after 17 years of marriage

The acting couple are to separate but remain devoted to their children

Much-loved acting couple Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have announced their decision to separate, following 17 years of marriage. The A-listers told Entertainment Tonight: “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. 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.”

Ben Stiller with Christine Taylor and their children

Comic actor Ben, 51, married Christine, 45, in a romantic beachfront ceremony in Hawaii in May 2000. They first met while filming a TV pilot for a show called Heat Vision and Jack, which never made it to our screens. The popular couple acted together in several hit movies including Zoolander, Dodgeball and Tropic Thunder. They won viewers’ hearts as a real-life movie love story, so news of their split will come as a shock to many. On Ben’s Instagram page, the star posted a photograph of a rainbow over Mount Vesuvius on Thursday. One fan wrote: “Ugh, so sad to hear the news.” Ben was possibly taking a holiday after appearing at Cannes Film Festival last weekend.

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Ben and Christine are parents to two children, a daughter Ella Olivia, 15, and son Quinlin Dempsey, 11. As the couple explained in their statement, their main focus now is to remain as devoted parents and maintain privacy for their family. Ben has been through a difficult time in the last couple of years. In May 2015 his beloved actress mother Anne Meara died aged 85. Her death was a huge blow to Ben who was extremely close to his mum.

Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor have annouced their separation

Then in October last year, Ben revealed he had battled prostate cancer in 2014 and following surgery, received the all clear status three months later. Speaking of his diagnosis at the time, he said: "It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea," explaining that he was advised to undergo surgery for his "intermediately aggressive" cancer. The actor said he was lucky to have discovered the disease early due to the PSA tests – a blood test that can detect the early signs of an enlarged prostate – his doctor performed early.