In a new interview with Esquire, Stiller opened up about directing Severance for Apple TV+ and what led to his reunion with Taylor after their separation in 2017.
Stiller moved back into the family home when the pandemic began, so that he could see their children, Ella, 19 and Quinlin, 16, during the early stages of the lockdown, but before long, something shifted.
"Over the course of time, it evolved," he told the magazine. "We were separated and got back together and we’re happy about that. It’s been really wonderful for all of us. Unexpected, and one of the things that came out of the pandemic."
Stiller shared an analogy to help explain what got their relationship back on track, adding that respecting each others similarities and differences, ended up being the key for the longtime couple.
"A few years ago, I realized I don’t like horseback riding. If there’s an opportunity to go horseback riding, I’m probably not going to do it. Now, I like horses! I think they’re beautiful. I like petting them. I like watching people ride horses, I like watching my kids ride horses. I just don’t really love riding horses," Stiller shared. "And once you know that, it just saves a lot of energy. So, yeah, I think we have a respect for the ways that we’re similar and the ways we’re different."
"I think accepting that, you can really appreciate someone more because you’re not trying to get them to change for you," he continued. "Once you accept that, you save a lot of energy. 'This is something that works for me; this is something that doesn’t work for me.' If you have that trust level with your partner, you know that me saying 'I don’t like doing that thing’ is not me saying 'I don’t like you.'"
The pair separated in 2017 after 17 years of marriage and announced their split in a joint statement. Neither Stiller or Taylor ever officially filed for divorce.
"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," Stiller and Taylor said at the time. "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."
Since their split, they have been spotted several times at various events, most recently at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York last year and pre-pandemic at the 71st Emmy Awards in 2019, where they arrived together.
The pair, who met while filming a never-broadcast TV pilot called Heat Vision and Jack, tied the knot in May 2000 at an oceanfront ceremony in Kauai, Hawaii.
"When I met her, I pretty much thought, 'That's the person,'" Stiller told ET in a 2007 interview. "It was like, 'Wow, this is a great person. I love her.'"