Christine Baumgartner filed for divorce on May 1, 2023 after 18 years of marriage to the 'Yellowstone' star.
Just one day before Valentine's Day in 2023, Costner shared a video of himself unboxing his Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series. While talking to the camera, the 68-year-old actor gushed over how his wife, and how she went all out with "30 bucks" to decorate their home in Montecito, California, for an impromptu Golden Globes watch party after floods kept the couple from attending in person a month earlier.
Then, less than three months later, Christine dropped a bombshell when she filed for divorce on May 1 after 18 years of marriage. According to court documents, obtained by ET, Christine cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution of the marriage, and she listed April 11 as the date of separation.
One day after Christine, 49, filed for divorce, a rep for the Yellowstone star intimated he was dragged into a divorce.
"It is with great sadness that circumstances beyond his control have transpired which have resulted in Mr. Costner having to participate in a dissolution of marriage action," the statement read from Costner's rep to ET.
This statement, as it would turn out, provided the first clue that the divorce would be contentious. The rocky proceedings ensued and, more than four months after Christine first filed, the two settled the case in September 2023.
It wasn't always this way. The courtship was romantic, and for nearly two decades, Kevin and Christine's marriage endured. Below, ET takes a look back at their marriage and messy divorce, which has been settled.
They met when she was 18
In one of her more recent court filings, Christine shared that she met Kevin on a golf course when she was 18. It's been reported that the actor, who at the time was married to his first wife Cindy Silva, was on the golf course rehearsing for his sports comedy, Tin Cup, in the early 1990s.
According to Christine, they started dating some six years later, in 1999, before tying the knot in 2004 at his second home in Aspen, Colorado. Kevin was married to Cindy from 1978 until their (reportedly very costly) divorce in 1994. They share three adult children -- Annie, Lily and Joe -- in their 30s. Kevin also shares an adult son, Liam, from his previous relationship with actress Bridget Rooney.
They broke up in 2003, albeit briefly
Kevin and Christine reportedly broke up, with the deciding factor apparently being that the actor did not want to have more kids. They reunited again shortly after, with Kevin recalling a conversation she once had with him, via People.
"If your'e going to be with me, you need to know that kids are at the end of the road for me with you, if that's going to happen," the Field of Dreams star later recalled her saying in 2020.
Kevin once told Parade in 2012 that Christine told him after their first split, "'I'm going to wait for you, but not long. When you come back to your senses, come back to me.' And I did."
They tied the knot in 2004
Kevin and Christine got married at his sprawling Dunbar Ranch in Aspen, Colorado.
Available to rent now for a whopping $36,000 a night, the ranch sits on 160 acres and two lakes. The estate also features three separate homes, eight bathrooms and 12 bedrooms. The entire house sleeps up to 34 people.
The main suite also features a trap door that leads to a jacuzzi complete with a waterfall. The property also includes a baseball diamond reminiscent of the one seen in Costner's iconic 1989 film.
Christine welcomes 3 kids in 3 years
Kevin becomes a father for the fifth time when Christine gives birth to Cayden in May 2007. When Christine files for divorce from Kevin, Cayden's 15 years old.
Christine then gave birth to their second son, Hayes, in 2009, and they welcomed their daughter, Grace, in 2010. Hayes is 14 and Grace 12 when Christine files for divorce.
'A beautiful date'
While attending the Academy Awards in March 2022, Costner took to Instagram to gush over his gorgeous date.
"How beautiful is my date? Thank yo to @theacademyf or having us tonight," Costner captioned the post.
Blissfully in love
Kevin gushed that life was just better with Christine in his life. He said as much to People in November 2022.
"My wife does things that just completely... It just helps," he said. "The house is prettier because of her. Everything is warmer because of her. There's these little things that she does and I think it's the power of love, but that she makes her home that way."
Costner's nominated for a Golden Globe
After sharing that he couldn't make it to the January 2023 awards show due to devastating floods in California and would have to miss the festivities, Kevin shared that Christine went all out by throwing him a last-minute watch party at the couple's Montecito, California estate.
"Wanted to be there and Christine realized that my heart was a little bit low and my wife with 30 bucks went down to the store -- I’ll never forget this -- she bought about 30 balloons 'cause it was just gonna be us and our family in the den watching the Golden Globes," said the winner while unboxing the Golden Globe he won for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the patriarch, John Dutton, in the Paramount hit show Yellowstone.
He added, "But my wife found a way to take something really simple and my children and I sat on the couch and we watched the whole doggone thing and my kids heard our name be called and, we weren’t at one of the greatest parties in the world; we wanted to be, but we found ourselves together as a family and my children heard my name called and they stood up and they cheered."
Christine files for divorce
Seemingly coming out of left field, Christine filed for divorce less than three months after throwing him that Golden Globe Awards watch party. After she filed for divorce, Kevin responded with his own legal documents, saying he also wanted joint custody of their children and that they have a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement would ultimately become a strong point of contention.
In his response to Christine's divorce filing, Kevin did not list the date of separation. A rep for Costner confirmed the news of their split in a statement to ET, stating, "It is with great sadness that circumstances beyond his control have transpired which have resulted in Mr. Costner having to participate in a dissolution of marriage action."
John Dutton heads to the 'train station'
Two days after Christine filed for divorce, ET reported that Kevin was set to leave Yellowstone after the end of season 5. After ET reported the news, Paramount Network revealed that the series would end in November 2023, following the release of its remaining episodes.
To top the seemingly complicated matter off, Kevin reportedly wanted to approve how he was written off the Paramount hit series.
She ditches the wedding ring
Just four days after filing for divorce, Christine was spotted without her wedding ring while shopping in Santa Barbara, California.
He wants her outta the house, stat
The divorce case turned ugly fast. According to court documents, obtained by ET, Kevin claimed Christine would not move out of their southern California despite a prenup stipulation that he claimed required her to do just that.
Kevin claimed that the prenup she signed when they tied the knot in 2014 stipulated that Christine agreed, in the event of a divorce, the actor would have exclusive possession and use of his separate property residences, and that she would vacate any separate property family residence she was living in within 30 days of the filing of a divorce petition.
In her response, Christine stated she would not move out of the property unless Kevin agreed to various financial demands. For his part, Kevin claimed that he had already made a contribution to Christine's attorney's and accountant's fees, paid her the $1.2 million due to her under the terms of their prenup, made a comprehensive temporary child support and fee proposal, has agreed to and has maintained the financial status quo, and is continuing to pay all of their children's expenses.
The estranged couple's prenup stipulated that Kevin would pay a $200,000 down payment for Christine's new residence and cover its monthly mortgage, property tax, and insurance payments for one year, all of which Kevin said in the docs he was prepared to do.
She did not push him to leave Yellowstone
Amid the ongoing divorce, Christine filed legal documents and brought up Kevin's exit from Yellowstone while explaining "our separation."
"I have avoided being public about the reasons for our divorce," Christine said in the court documents, obtained by ET. "I have done this to protect our family's privacy. I did not pressure Kevin to leave the Yellowstone show. Kevin's public attacks on me are harmful for our family. I believe they are meant to pressure me to move out without a temporary child support agreement in place."
Christine requests $248,000 per month in child support
She claimed that based on his 2022 income, Kevin should fork over $248,000 per month in child support. She said she's willing to move out of the primary residence, but only once Kevin agreed to provide her child support request.
She added that it's her "desire to set up a suitable separate household that is at least somewhat commensurate with the children's accustomed lifestyle."
As for Kevin, he responded to Christine's $248,000 per month in child support, essentially saying it's an outrageous figure for a number of reasons.
In documents his lawyer filed in court, and obtained by ET, Costner said Christine’s list of the children's "needs" for purposes of child support is "inflated and grossly inaccurate." He claimed Christine is "fundamentally dishonest as to certain items included in her calculation of the children’s 'reasonable' needs, such as private school tuition for two of the children (failing to mention that only Grace will continue private school), and her own personal, non-child related expenses, such as extensive plastic surgery for herself in 2022."
"The children do not use the services of private trainers, only Christine does," Costner continued in court documents. "The plastic surgery expenses of $188,500/month belong to Christine – not the children. And Christine should know which credit card expenses were for her and which were for the children, but not even a minimal effort is made to allocate them accurately."
A love triangle?
As if things couldn't get even more complicated, The Sun reported that Daniel Starr, a real estate developer, and Christine developed a close relationship when he was a tenant at one of Costner's guest houses at his nearby Santa Barbara, California compound.
Daniel vehemently denied the accusation, telling TMZ that there was no truth to Kevin angrily confronting him about the alleged inappropriate relationship. Daniel flat-out denied ever hooking up with Christine. When asked if he hooked up with Christine, Starr straight-up said, "Absolutely not."
Christine ordered to move out, and ...
During a court appearance in Santa Barbara, California, the judge denied Christine's request for more time to move out of the family home. What's more, she was ordered to move out of Costner's home by July 31. She had previously said in court documents that she would agree to move out by Aug. 31, provided the actor agreed to her child support request of $248,000 per month.
And, speaking of child support, Costner agreed to fork over $51,940 per month in child support, but Christine responded by saying it wasn't enough to cover her and her children's expenses, and calling the figure "completely inappropriate." But, after a hearing, a judge ultimately ordered Costner to pay $129,000 per month in child support on a temporary basis. An evidentiary hearing was set for November, when the temporary child support payments are subject to possible change depending on what transpires in the hearing.
According to court documents, obtained by ET, Christine also claimed that Kevin couldn't afford her initial request of $248,000 per month in child support because he wanted to quit Yellowstone in order to pursue his Western project, Horizon.
He said, she said
On July 17 Baumgartner addressed claims made by Costner's legal team that she's going to take items she is not authorized to take when she leaves their home -- which she was ordered to move out of by July 31.
In legal documents obtained by ET, Baumgartner states there is no emergency basis for Costner's concerns and his "apparent" fear that she will strip the house bare is unfounded. With the exception of a handful of items, Baumgartner claims she has provided Costner's attorney with "pictures of the items she plans to remove."
According to Baumgartner, a hearing to ensure she didn’t "strip the house bare" is uncalled for.
A judge ruled on Friday that Baumgartner is permitted to remove her toiletries, clothing, handbags and jewelry from Costner's Beach Club Road Residence. She is prohibited from removing any other items -- including furniture, furnishings, appliances and artwork -- from the residence or from any storage unit maintained by the former couple.
Baumgartner's docs state that, in preparation for her move, she rented off-site storage and started packing personal belongings such as family heirlooms, clothing, her Peloton bike, various keepsakes and gifts from friends.
She states that she provided Costner's lawyers a PDF with photos of the personal belongings that she packed and moved to storage and that her ex would "not be harmed" by the removal of those items.
According to a petition filed by Costner on Friday, obtained by ET, Baumgartner's list of items she plans to remove was too "vague" and he wants more specific information on what she's planning on taking.
This dispute over removing personal items is the latest conflict in their very heated divorce, and with a hearing set for November, this divorce case seems far from settled.
Child support hearing dates set
Hearing dates have been set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 9 in Santa Barbara County Court. The hearings will ultimately and officially determine whether Costner will be paying $129,755 per month in child support. While the court tentatively ruled Costner would pay the amount, the judge still has to sign off on the amount.
During the hearings, both sides will argue their point. Christine had previously requested $248,000 per month while Costner said he's willing to fork over $51,940 per month.
In court docs, Costner alleged that Baumgartner is using "stalling tactics" to drag out the divorce after she claimed she did not understand their prenup agreement when she signed it. Costner referred to that "stalling tactic" as "gamesmanship of the worst sort."
As ET previously reported, things came to a head between the pair when Baumgartner refused to leave their family home in Santa Barbara, California despite a prenup stipulation that Costner claimed required her to do just that.
"Christine avoids answering many of the Requests for Admission ('RFAs') based on the claim that the ordinary words used, words like 'understood' and 'negotiation' are too vague," Costner's lawyers claimed in the docs.
Costner accused of being 'evasive'
Baumgartner accused Costner of being "evasive" about his finances after she requested bank and credit card statements as well as contracts highlighting his "anticipated income." She also claimed that whatever documents Costner has turned over have, so far, been "deficient."
For example, Baumgartner says Costner has asserted he anticipates his income will decline, as he is no longer involved with the hit Paramount TV show, Yellowstone. But as far as upcoming projects -- specifically Costner's Western, Horizon, in which he's starring and directing -- Baumgartner claims Costner's been "withholding documents" that outline "anticipated income."
Baumgartner not only wants the court to compel Costner to hand over the financial documents she's requested, but to also sanction the actor to the tune of $8,985 -- the amount she's incurred in attorney's fees and costs in order to file her request in court.
For his part, Costner claims his estranged wife's requests for such documents are "burdensome, oppressive and harassing."
Baumgartner accused of 'game playing'
Costner claimed in court documents that Baumgartner had refused to answer, "without justification," basic discovery. And, because she has engaged in "silly rhetoric," Costner's asking the court to sanction Baumgartner.
The court documents, filed in August, state Baumgartner has had every opportunity for nearly three months to answer Costner's "straightforward discovery requests" but has failed to do so. Costner says this "silly rhetoric ... just reinforces the game playing."
As a result, Costner requested that the court sanction Baumgartner and order her to reimburse him for the attorney's fees he says he incurred in order for her to comply with her discovery obligations. The amount he listed was $14,237.50.
As for why he made the reimbursement request, Costner said, "It is hoped that this will be a deterrent to any discovery abuse on Christine's part in the future."
Two-day hearing begins
The parties went to court on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 for hearings set to establish how much Costner should have to pay Baumgartner in monthly child support. Baumgartner took the stand to make her case and at various times grew emotional. For example, she choked back tears when questioning shifted from the Yellowstone star's beach club estate to his expansive ranch in Aspen, Colorado, where the kids have vacationed on numerous occasions and consider the estate a special place.
An eyewitness told ET that Baumgartner "started tearing up and reached for a tissue" when that portion of the questioning began. A 30-second pause ensued before the judge called for a five-minute break.
For his part, Costner seemed relaxed at the hearing. His demeanor, however, changed when Baumgartner's attorney stated in court that Costner had more than enough money to pay for both of their legal bills, a point of contention as of late.
"He seemed irritated when Christine's attorney said that he should pay for both attorney fees," the eyewitness said. "He visibly shook his head when the lawyer said he could afford to pay for both."
At the hearing, Baumgartner testified it was important for the kids to have a "comparable lifestyle" to the one they enjoyed when she and Costner were still a couple, thus her request that the court increase the amount Costner should pay her in monthly child support. She testified that the children love the beach club estate and that they're "home in the water."
But in court documents, Costner insisted he and Baumgartner "simply differ on what 'reasonable needs' means in the context of child support." He would later conclude in court docs -- then later in court -- that $63,209 per month in child support fully meets the children's reasonable needs.
She denied on the stand that mutual friend, Josh Connor, is her boyfriend. The claim first came up in court documents filed by Costner's legal team, which insinuated Connor was her boyfriend.
At the hearing, Baumgartner was asked about her and Connor's July vacation in Hawaii. She was also asked if Connor was her boyfriend and she answered affirmatively, "No."
Costner explains Yellowstone exit
The actor told the court that the studios behind Yellowstone had failed to strike a deal ensuring his participation.
"I couldn’t help them anymore," he said, via People. "We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative."
Per USA Today, it was ultimately a disagreement over splitting season 5 into two parts that finalized Costner's decision to leave. He referred to the disagreement as a "long, hard-fought negotiation," adding that he was disappointed with where the talks concluded.
"I've been told it’s a little disappointing that (it's) the number one show on TV (and) I'm not participating,” Costner said. "I'll probably go to court over it."
Baumgartner moves into new home
She moved into a new property in Montecito that's costing her $40,000 per month. It's a six-month lease. The four-bedroom home sits on one acre and it features an idyllic pool, manicured lawns and gardens and is adjacent to a scenic hiking trail.
Costner also opined that Baumgartner's pool is actually bigger than the pool in his beach club estate.
Child support payments drastically reduced
After a contentious two-day hearing, the judge on Sept. 1 sided with Costner and ordered that his monthly child support payments to Baumgartner be significantly reduced -- from $128,000 per month to $63,209.
The order went into effect that very same day. After the court ordered the reduction in child support, Baumgartner looked stunned but did not offer any emotion beyond that. As for Costner, he seemed happy with the court order. After a quick huddle with his lawyers, Costner -- flanked by police -- was escorted out of the Santa Barbara County courtroom.
Baumgartner left with her attorneys and when ET asked for comment, she offered none.
The judge explains why
Just days later, Judge Thomas P. Anderle shared in a 17-page summary of the child support case and the reasons behind his conclusions that ultimately gave Costner a huge victory.
The judge said factoring Costner's Yellowstone salary to determine the amount he should have to pay her in monthly child support "would be unjust and inappropriate in this case." Costner had previously argued that his Yellowstone salary -- reportedly over $1 million per episode -- was a "complete aberration, and provided Kevin with an unusually high level of income -- a level he has never had in the past."
That argument was made yet again in court during the two-day hearing by Costner's hired forensic accountant, whom the judge determined as "very capable." The judge also concluded that Costner's theory -- that his Yellowstone salary should not be factored in the child support case -- preponderated, or proved exceedingly convincing.
The judge added, "The court did not find Christine's theory of the case intellectually dishonest; but it was not persuasive; it did not preponderate."
The bitter dispute continues
The judge sanctioned Baumgartner and ordered her to reimburse Costner the $14,237.50 to cover his attorney's fees after he said he was forced to file a motion to compel because he claimed she refused to answer, "without justification," basic discovery.
Less than a week later, Baumgartner went to court and requested that Costner fork over nearly a million dollars to cover her attorney's fees and forensic accounting fees. Costner blasted the request as "outrageous" and "nonsensical."
Baumgartner, in her request, claims she needs $575,000 in attorney's fees and $280,000 in expert costs to prepare for the upcoming trial to settle their combative discord over whether the spousal support waiver in their premarital agreement is enforceable.
In court documents, obtained by ET, the $885,000 request is to cover 1,106 hours of attorney time at a rate of $800 per hour "simply to prepare for and argue the issue of the validity and enforceability of the spousal support limitation in the PMA now."
As for the forensic accounting, Costner claims that "the bulk of discovery has already been conducted with document production and deposition of the parties on the issue of child support and thereby gross cash flow for support." In other words, the forensic accounting has already been exhausted.
"Simply put," Costner's documents state, "Christine fails to provide the court with any evidence that 1,106 hours of attorney time at $800 per hour is necessary to prepare" for this upcoming trial. Costner also calls out any future forensic accounting work needed -- and the money needed to pay those fees -- as either irrelevant or already completed.
In short, Costner wants the court to deny Baumgartner's $885,000 request for attorney's and accounting fees.
In September 2023, ET confirmed Kevin, who was represented by go-to Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, and Christine settled their divorce.