Among the many things we learned about Ben Stiller at the Museum of the Moving Image tribute — that he’s driven; has a small dick, according to Robert De Niro; and, as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog pointed out, is a Jew — the most surprising thing we found is that he’s a true romantic. He met his wife, Christine Taylor, ironically, while making Meet the Parents, but her father bore Stiller no Focker-style enmity. “I do remember Ben being uptight, because he had to bring my dad down to our basement,” Taylor told us at the dinner. “He was trying to find a place to sort of secretly ask my dad if it was okay to ask my hand in marriage.” Her father obviously gave his blessing, but, she says, the forced situation was uncomfortable for Stiller. “It seems like it should be natural, but I think Ben was more excited to just get out of the basement of our house — even though it was a finished basement,” Taylor said.
Her mother, she explained, facilitated the negotiations. “My mom was the one sort of signaling for them to get down there and do it quickly, because she knows I’m perceptive, and she didn’t want me to be cued into it.” So how did Stiller pop the question? “I thought he was in New York working on Meet the Parents, and then I showed up in L.A. at my house, and he had opened the house and had a whole surprise for me. I had no idea,” she told us. “It was very fairy-tale; it was beautiful.”