Ben Stiller Reveals Tough Conversation He Had With His Daughter

Ben Stiller has been opening up more about his career and family life as of late — a nice shift after a quiet few years without him in the direct spotlight after a long stretch of wildly successful films. After announcing his separation from wife Christine Taylor in 2017, the couple has officially reconciled. Now, the father of teens Ella and Quinlin is sharing insight from his daughter about his own parenting.

During a 2019 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," with his daughter in the audience, Stiller revealed Ella's interest in pursuing acting. This would make her a third generation actor following her well-known parents and grandparents, the iconic comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. The "Severance" director is fully supportive, and told the host, "She loves it and she's very passionate about it and she knows what she wants to do." He shared a similar feeling when wanting to direct movies at the age of 10 or 11.

Stiller recognizes this passion as others have recognized it in him. Longtime friend and fellow castmate on "The Ben Stiller Show," Bob Odenkirk told Esquire, "Sometimes his personal drive, and probably the pressure that he brought to his own existence ... I think that could sometimes make him distant or remote... " Odenkirk noted having hope, and even the belief, that this is changing with age, but it is this pressure and drive that are at the core of what Stiller's daughter has been talking with him about.

Ben Stiller's daughter is open about feeling his absence growing up

Ella Stiller has opened up to her father about him not fully being there throughout her childhood — a huge, relatable conversation for Ben Stiller, who also grew up with famous parents. "She's pretty articulate about it, and sometimes it's stuff that I don't want to hear," the actor told Esquire. Since 2002, the year Ella was born, Ben has worked on countless projects that dominated box offices. He acts, directs, produces, and writes, naturally making work-life balance tricky.

"It's me not being there in the ways that I saw my parents not being there," the "Tropic Thunder" star reflected. "And I had always thought, Well I won't do that." Ben noted his desire to chase his own dreams, but at the end of the day, the Stiller children don't care about career details. Now he has changed his tune and knows they just want him to be "emotionally present and supportive."

Ben originally told Chicago Parent in 2010 that, for family, "being together no matter what is probably the biggest thing. Just being in the same place." Ella has offered up her different perspective as a young adult and isn't afraid to talk about it, greatly influencing her father's overall outlook. This is in line with what Ben told Parade about her in 2016: "My daughter's smart, focused. She doesn't take any crap." Especially from her own father, as it turns out. It looks like communication in the Stiller household is only making them stronger.