Vivien Killilea/Getty Busy Philipps and Marc Silverstein
The couple have separated after nearly 15 years of marriage, Philipps confirmed on Friday's episode of her podcast, Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.
"It's been a really long time that Marc and I have been separated, and our kids know, our families know, our friends know," she told her co-hosts.
"And we really discussed, like, how do I handled it sort of publicly. Because when we first separated, it was, like, February of last year," continued Philipps, 42. "But the truth is, we, you know, there's, like, a conventional idea of what a person in the public eye is supposed to do when their relationship ends, and it's been very well established, right? Like, you make a statement, you're committed to remaining friends, 'please respect our privacy and our family's privacy in this time,' right? But the truth is, like, who made that rule up, that that's how you do it? I'm serious."
She went on, "And if anything, the last several years has shown me it's a little bit that, like, you can only do what's right for you and your family, whether or not you have a public-facing life or you just post on Facebook or whatever. Because we all at this point have a public-facing life. You don't have to follow a conventional idea just because it's been done before. I really do believe that."
She revealed, "Marc and I talked about it, and when we first separated, we couldn't even think about putting one of those statements out — it made us sick, both of us, truly ill."
"It's a journey. Jour-ney. It's been a journey," she summed up, noting that she and Silverstein wanted to "figure out" their own feelings on the situation before taking it public — "it was just a safer bet to not."
She added, choking up, "The surest way that Marc and I have been able to ensure the privacy of our kids that we love so f---ing much was by not involving the public."
Her co-host Caissie St. Onge interjected, "If I may, you are the least separate separated people I've probably ever known."
Said Philipps, "Well we love each other — very much! And we have these beautiful kids together. And there are a lot of things that really work about our relationship."
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Busy Philipps and Marc Silverstein with Birdie as an infant
Though they had been married for nearly 15 years, it wasn't always smooth sailing for the couple. On several occasions, Philipps has spoken about almost divorcing Silverstein due to marital issues or disagreements.
In her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, the Dawson's Creek alum revealed that her marriage to the producer had hit a rough patch that caused her to seek out emotional support in another man.
"There was a man I was friends with, another dad. We'd been having lunch and stuff. Texting. Talking on the phone a lot," Philipps wrote. "Honestly, I had a crush on him. I like him. Maybe I even loved him? He clearly liked me too."
When she told Silverstein she wanted a divorce, Philipps said he reacted in shock and asked for another chance. After confiding in her best friend Michelle Williams — who advised her to "keep your family intact" — and her therapist, she and Silverstein began to attend therapy again.
"This time, Marc got his own therapist. And we started to work through it. But I also kept talking to my emotional boyfriend (for lack of a better term). I know. That part is so s---. I'm sorry. I really am. I really truly am," Philipps wrote in her memoir.
busy philipps/Instagram Busy Philipps and Marc Silverstein with their kids
That same year, Philipps revealed that Silverstein wasn't initially the most supportive parent after they welcomed Birdie.
"He was not understanding how to be a dad and, in fact, didn't try. I was parenting by myself," the former Freaks and Geeks star recalled to Parents magazine. "When I told him I wanted to have a second child, he said, 'Fine, but it's all on you.' That was so heartbreaking."
She continued, "Marriage is always hard, but especially when you have kids … You're going to go through periods when you're not into it, but there always has to be one person willing to fight. I went to Marc several times and said, 'I cannot do this anymore. Something has to change, and it's you.' "
"We've had a lot of serious discussions and counseling, and he's incredibly participatory now in a way I don't think he could've imagined before. We're a work in progress but trying our best, and that's the most you can do," she added.
In October 2019, Philipps and Silverstein opened up to Harper's Bazaar about how their marriage had evolved over the years, and why divorce was considered when Philipps wasn't happy with the division of labor concerning parenting duties.
"Marc was like, 'I'll do anything.' And I was like, 'Okay, then do everything. Because I have done it all, all by myself, and I'm done, dude,' " the Cougar Town alum recalled. "I was fully out the door. I wasn't expecting anything from him, but what we ended up doing was creating our own system."
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Silverstein agreed to some changes, and as Philipps remembered, "He made the call: He should be the one to stay home with the kids."
The producer admitted that he liked "being good at stuff," and "stayed away" from more domestic responsibilities initially because he didn't feel like he was skilled in that area.
"I realized that deep happiness comes from my family," he said of the wake-up call his wife gave him. "And once I figured out what I could bring to the table, things changed. I wanted to do more. Once Busy said, 'I need you to put Birdie to bed every night,' I owned it. And I was good at that. I started with one thing and it grew from there."
Added Philipps: "[In a partnership], you have to decide what works for you. And you have to think about your children. I want everything for my girls, but the only way they're going to believe it's possible for them is if they see me have it."