Kevin Costner’s divorce from estranged wife Christine Baumgartner got off to a messy start — and lasted four months before they finalized their legal battle in September 2023..
Us Weekly confirmed in May 2023 that Baumgartner had filed for divorce from the Oscar winner after 19 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
Costner met Baumgartner on a golf course in the ‘90s while he was preparing to play a professional golfer in the 1996 film Tin Cup. Following his 1994 split from ex-wife Cindy Silva — with whom he shares kids Annie, Lily and Joe — Costner began dating Baumgartner in 1999. The pair tied the knot in September 2004 and went on to welcome sons Cayden and Hayes and daughter Grace. (Costner also shares son Liam with ex Bridget Rooney.)
Following Baumgartner’s divorce filing, a source exclusively told Us that Costner was “deeply saddened” by their breakup but was working to try to “save his marriage.” The insider added: “Kevin loves his wife and children so this has been very hard on him. He is saying that this is his worst nightmare and he would do anything for his family.”
Baumgartner, meanwhile, was experiencing her own roller-coaster of emotions. “Christine feels he should be the one to go,” another source told Us in June 2023, referring to Baumgartner’s decision to remain in her and Costner’s shared home despite their prenup stating she has 30 days to vacate the property. “She’s so angry with Kevin for what she feels led to the end of their marriage — him putting work ahead of the family.”
Scroll below for all the details on Costner and Baumgartner’s ongoing divorce:
Christine Files for Divorce
Although Baumgartner filed for divorce in May 2023, court documents obtained by Us reveal that the pair actually split one month prior. Costner, for his part, filed a response in May 2023, which mentioned that he and Baumgartner signed a prenuptial agreement before their wedding.
Amid news of their separation, the handbag designer was spotted without her wedding ring in Los Angeles in photos obtained by the Daily Mail.
The Fight Over Yellowstone
“Christine wasn’t happy with Yellowstone‘s schedule delays because it caused him to miss so much time with his family,” an insider told Us in May 2023, claiming that the Paramount+ series — which premiered in 2018 — was “one of the reasons” for the duo’s split.
The source continued: “[Costner] was on the fence about doing the show from the beginning. He had to be convinced to do the project. There were months of discussions with Kevin and his family before he did it. He didn’t want do the show without their input.”
According to the insider, delays on the second half of Yellowstone‘s fifth and final season “led to a lot of problems” between the estranged spouses. “Kevin’s team even asked about the possibility of moving the show to California so he could film certain scenes,” the source noted. “It’s been a discussion through the years, but it never worked out. Kevin has been making a lot of effort to make it work for his family.”
Baumgartner reportedly argued in June 2023 court docs that she “did not pressure Kevin to leave the Yellowstone show.”
In August 2023, Baumgartner’s legal team claimed that Costner “refused to answer questions about whether he was offered the opportunity to star in Season 6, or if he simply chose to quit.” Regardless, the attorneys argued that Costner would still be “entitled to a percentage of profit participation” from the show even after his exit. (Costner previously claimed he couldn’t afford Baumgartner’s child support requests because his income would diminish following his exit from the series.)
In court documents obtained by Us in June 2023, Costner claimed that his estranged wife withdrew “from my bank account and charged on my credit card a total of $95,000, payable to her divorce attorneys and forensic accountant.” He alleged that she had been doing so since April 2023 without his knowledge or consent.
Costner subsequently explained in a filing obtained by Us in July 2023 that he had “no choice” but to reduce his ex’s credit card limit to $30,000 per month due to her “charging large sums” without his knowledge. He referred to the decision as a “reasonable limitation.”
The Fight for Their Home
Costner alleged in June 2023 legal paperwork that Baumgartner was refusing to move out of their shared home, despite their prenup stating she had 30 days to vacate the property following their split. According to Costner, Baumgartner was using the situation to make him comply with “various financial demands.” He acknowledged that he could “contribute as part of his child support obligations $30K per month for a rental house and is willing to advance another $10K for her moving costs.”
Baumgartner’s lawyer, John Rydell, later stated in court documents obtained by Insider that Costner has no “legal” right to force her to leave. “Although the legal basis for Kevin’s request to kick his wife and children out of their home is all but nonexistent, this is still a matter of critical importance for Christine,” the lawyer explained in June 2023.
Baumgartner further claimed in June 2023 court documents obtained by Us that she has “no personal income” which makes it impossible to vacate their joint home. “Christine understands that at some point in the future she and the children will have to move out of the family home,” the filing read. “She cannot do so at this early stage of the case because she does not have sufficient funding to secure housing that will ensure the children can maintain similar standards of living in the parties’ respective homes.”
Us confirmed via court docs in July 2023 that a judge denied Baumgartner’s request to remain on the property until August 2023.
Baumgartner apparently moved out of the couple’s home in late July 2023, a few days before the court-ordered deadline. Prior to her departure, the exes feuded over the division of household items — literally down to kitchen utensils. In court docs filed in July 2023, Baumgartner claimed that Costner was worried she was going to “take too many pots and pans.”
Baumgartner reportedly asked for $248,000 a month in child support, stating in a court filing that the figure “is less than the amount needed to maintain the children in their accustomed lifestyle.”
Baumgartner also requested that Costner solely pay for their kids’ private school education, health care expenses and fees related to extracurricular activities and sports, but did not mention any requests for spousal support.
In June 2023 court documents obtained by Us, Baumgartner claimed that Costner makes an estimated $1,537,000 a month from his various jobs as an actor and director. She noted that while Costner has “continued to pay all of” their expenses since their separation, Costner has not made it easy for Baumgartner to pay for things.
“Thus far, Kevin has not been willing to commit to paying an appropriate amount of child support,” she alleged. “I have been willing to move out of the family home, but I cannot do so without support from Kevin.”
Costner, for his part, denied he was “kicking” his children out of their home in court docs obtained by Us in June 2023. “I am only requesting that Christine vacate my separate property home and find alternate living arrangements,” he alleged.
In documents filed later that month and obtained by Us, the actor noted that because he is “no longer under contract for Yellowstone,” he “will earn substantially less in 2023 than I did in 2022″ — and cannot pay the $248,000 per month his estranged wife is requesting in child support.
One month later, Fox News reported that Baumgartner will receive $129,755 per month from Costner in child support, in addition to the actor paying $200,000 and $100,000 in attorneys’ fees and forensic costs, respectively. The duo pay equal expenses for their children’s health care, activities and sports on the “first of each month,” according to the outlet, with “credit sums paid between July 1 and July 12.”
Ahead of an August 2023 child support hearing, Baumgartner requested $175,057 a month from Costner, claiming that amount would help the kids maintain a “lifestyle relatively comparable” to the one they enjoy when they’re with their father.
“Because the children fly on private aircraft to go on luxury vacations when they are with their father, the Family Code dictates that Kevin should pay sufficient child support to Christine so that the children can go on comparable vacations when they are with her. This is true even if the child support payments also improve Christine’s lifestyle,” Baumgartner’s lawyers claimed in a brief filed ahead of the hearing. “Kevin will argue that Christine doesn’t need to provide the children with many of the things to which they have become accustomed, as they can enjoy those things with Kevin. But Kevin’s argument misses the point. The children should be able to participate in their activities with each of their parents.”
A Financial Breakdown
In a June 2023 filing, Baumgartner outlined her family’s finances and household expenses. She revealed that Costner earned $19,517,064 in 2022 and the family’s expenses — without taxes — came out to $6,645,285. Some of those fees included $84,040 for household help, $78,780 for children Hayes and Grace’s education, $830,000 on gifts and $238,000 on medical costs.
Baumgartner claimed that Costner recently deposited $1 million into an account set up in her name “without my knowledge or consent.” She alleged that the deposit was a way for her estranged spouse to “force my concession that the spousal support limitation is valid by virtue of my ‘acceptance’ of these funds. I believe that Kevin’s goal is to get me to tap into this money, so he can argue that I’ve waived my right to challenge the Premarital Agreement.”
She stated that she has chosen not to accept the payment — which now includes an additional $400,000. “I cannot access these funds without risk of jeopardizing my legal rights in this case. Except for the contested funds, I have almost no financial assets to my name and zero personal income,” the docs read.
She further insisted that Costner’s recent deposits would not cover her and their kids’ continued costs as outlined in the paperwork. Baumgartner explained that the family’s multiple homes — including their Aspen property and Santa Barbara compound — cost more than $1.5 million in 2022 to upkeep. Their Beach Club costs — which includes the Santa Barbara guest house rental, gym and yard — are an additional $449,202.
Costner, for his part, alleged in a separate filing in June 2023 that Baumgartner spends 60 percent of her child support money toward her own personal expenses, including a private trainer and $188,000 — monthly — on plastic surgery.
The Rumors About the Neighbor
Rumors surfaced in June 2023 that Baumgartner allegedly hooked up with her and Costner’s former tenant Daniel Starr — who previously resided in a home on their Santa Barbara property. While Baumgartner has yet to comment, Starr told TMZ the rumors were “absolutely not” true. He insisted that he is “just a guy who paid [his] rent.”
Starr explained that he left early — he vacated the premises in March 2023 despite having a contract through June 2023 — because he “had to move on.” When pushed further about his dynamic with the estranged couple, Starr told the outlet, “I just was a tenant. I had a tenant-landlord relationship [with them]. Nothing else.”
Zoom Call Drama
Baumgartner claimed Costner told their kids about the split via Zoom, alleging that she told her estranged spouse how “important” it was to “tell the children in person and together” but Costner allegedly “disregarded” her request.
“He insisted that he had the right to tell them that we were getting divorced ‘first’ and tell them privately ‘without me present,’” Baumgartner recalled in the filing. “After a 24-year relationship, from his hotel room in Las Vegas, Kevin told our three children that we were getting divorced over a 10-minute Zoom call without me present.” She revealed that she is “still confused by his motivation to do this via a very short Zoom session, especially since he was planning on being home five days later. He also could have easily come home from Las Vegas to have the conversation in person.”
Divorce Is Finalized
Costner and Baumgartner reportedly finalized their divorce in September 2023. According to multiple outlets, the exes reached a settlement after four months of going back and forth in court. Details about their agreement have not been released.
Earlier in the month, a judge ruled in Costner’s favor in terms of his and Baumgartner’s child support battle. Costner was temporarily ordered to pay $129,755 per month in child support before a judge knocked it down to $63,209 per month beginning September 1.
Following his court appearance, Costner broke his silence about the split, telling reporters that “of course” still has “love” for his ex-wife. He called the divorce proceedings a “horrible place to be” adding that “everybody” involved was hoping to quickly resolve the legal battle.