Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor have split after 17 years of marriage.

The couple - who have daughter Ella, 15 and son Quinlin, 11, together - have announced that they have decided to separate.

They told Entertainment Tonight in a statement: ''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, 51, and Christine, 45, first met on the set of TV pilot 'Heat Vision and Jack' and tied the knot in Hawaii in 2000.

And Ben admitted it was love at first sight.

He said previously: ''When I met her, I pretty much thought, 'That's the person'. It was like, 'Wow, this is a great person. I love her.'''

Meanwhile, Ben revealed in October that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer two years before but had kept it a secret from fans.

He admitted he was taken aback when doctors detected the life-threatening disease because it came ''out of the blue'', and Ben ''stopped everything'' and felt he couldn't agree to star in any movies because he didn't know what would happen in the future.

He said: ''It came out of the blue for me. I had no idea.

''At first, I didn't know what was going to happen. I was scared. It just stopped everything in your life because you can't plan for a movie because you don't know what's going to happen.''

Ben also revealed he had an operation to have his prostate removed and whilst he was told about the side effects, he feels the decision he made was the best for him.

He said: ''When you're confronted with the question of, 'Hey, do you want to live, or do you want to make sure your sex life is the best it can be?,' I opted for wanting to see what happens, and luckily everything's cool.''