Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor 'Never Even Dated Other People' Before Rekindling Marriage: Source

"They were never estranged," a source tells PEOPLE

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor never fully called it quits on their relationship.

Stiller, 56, revealed in a recent interview with Esquire that he and Taylor, 50, have rekindled their marriage after separating nearly five years ago in 2017. They got back together after he and Taylor decided it would be best if he moved back in with her and their two kids during the early days of the pandemic, as it would be the only way he'd be able to see the kids during lockdown.

"Then, over the course of time, it evolved," said Stiller. "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."

A source now tells PEOPLE that the pair did not date other people while split up.

"They are the kind of couple that friends hoped would get back together," says the source. "They were never estranged. Ben just had such a busy career for years. It drove them apart a bit. They didn't spend much time together. But when they did, it was always obvious that they loved each other."

"Even after they decided to separate, they spent time together just the two of them," the source adds. "They always had fun and enjoyed hanging out. They never even dated other people after they separated."

RELATED GALLERY: Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor's Relationship in Pictures

Ben and Christine Stiller
Ian Gavan/Getty

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

The insider explains that their parenting and family bonding helped bring them closer together. The Dodgeball and Zoolander costars share two kids: daughter Ella, 19, and son Quinlin, 16.

"When the pandemic hit, they decided to live together with their kids. They were always very close with their kids. Both are amazing parents," says the source.

Ben and Christine Stiller
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

In May 2017, the couple released a joint statement to PEOPLE announcing their separation 17 years after getting married in Kauai, Hawaii.

"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," Taylor and Stiller said at the time.

Although the couple had announced their separation, they continued to support one another and their family in the public eye, attending events with their kids and at one point, holding hands during an outing to see the Pretty Woman musical in 2018.

Stiller told Esquire of how his relationship with Taylor progressed over the last two years: "I think we have a respect for the ways that we're similar and the ways we're different. And I think accepting that, you can really appreciate someone more because you're not trying to get them to change for you."

"Once you accept that, you save a lot of energy," he said. " '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.' "

Related Articles