Kevin Costner and ex-wife Christine Baumgartner found themselves in the midst of a messy divorce in 2023, but their relationship was seemingly solid as a rock for many years. It all began with their first meeting in the ‘90s, an interaction that would later lead to a brief split, a wedding and three children.  

Early 1990s: Kevin and Christine Meet

Kevin and Christine first crossed paths in the early ‘90s when Kevin was practicing golf for his sports comedy Tin Cup. Christine alleged in her divorce filings that she was 18 at the time, while Kevin was around 37 years old. He was also married to his then-wife, Cindy Silva, with whom he shares three children. Kevin and Cindy got divorced in 1994. Kevin then dated Bridget Rooney from 1995 to 1998, and they share a son named Liam.

1999: Kevin and Christine Begin Dating

Following Kevin’s split from Bridget, he and Christine met up again and began dating.

2003: Kevin and Christine Split for the First Time

Kevin and Christine continued their romance until 2003, when they briefly split due to differing opinions on having children. Christine reportedly wanted to start a family, but Kevin wasn’t sure he wanted to raise any more kids. The split didn’t last long, though, as they quickly gave the relationship another chance. 

Kevin addressed their brief split in a June 2018 interview with Closer Weekly, revealing that “fear” got in the way because he didn’t know if he could be a good father. However, he later came to his senses. 

“I woke up and thought, ‘Am I going to lose a beautiful woman who is willing to be with me to my very last breath because I am afraid to say yes to a child?’” he recalled. “That’s all it took. Sometimes you learn the thing you’re most afraid of will save your life.”

Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner walk outside together in 2004
Giacomo Morini/Shutterstock

2004: Kevin and Christine Get Married

Not long after their reconciliation, Kevin and Christine tied the knot at his home in Aspen, Colorado, known as Dunbar Ranch.

2007: Kevin and Christine Welcome Their Son Cayden

Kevin and Christine’s first child, a son named Cayden, was born on May 6, 2007. 

2009: Christine Gives Birth to Their Son Hayes

Kevin and Christine then welcomed their second son, Hayes, on February 12, 2009.

2010: Kevin and Christine Welcome Their Daughter Grace

Kevin and Christine’s third child, a daughter named Grace, was born on June 2, 2010. The former couple has raised their kids mostly out of the spotlight, with the exception of attending a few movie premieres together. 

May 2023: Christine Files for Divorce

Christine filed for divorce from Kevin on May 1, 2023, after 18 years of marriage, In Touch confirmed at the time. The filing left Kevin “shocked and heartbroken,” a source told In Touch at the time. But Kevin and Christine had reportedly tried to work things out before coming to the decision to divorce.

“I believe they did have counseling, even though it’s not one of Kevin’s favorite things to do,” a source told In Touch. “Put it this way, neither of them really wanted a divorce. They tried to make it work, but they both decided it was time and the best thing to do for the entire family.”

Christine Baumgartner and Kevin Costner pose at the Academy Awards in 2022

As for what exactly led to the divorce, rumors swirled of an affair, constant fights and Christine pressuring Kevin to leave his show Yellowstone, although she denied the latter was the reason.

“I have avoided being public about the reasons for our divorce,” she stated in the divorce paperwork. “I have done this to protect our family’s privacy.”

June 2023: Kevin Requests That Christine Move Out of Their Home

The divorce got messy in June when Kevin filed a declaration with the court to request that Christine vacate their home in Carpinteria, California, In Touch confirmed. A few weeks later, new paperwork filed by Kevin’s lawyer on July 5 claimed that Christine “stubbornly refused” to move out. 

Additional paperwork was filed on July 14 to “prevent [Christine] from removing [Kevin’s] separate property from his home, and to insure an orderly process for the removal of her separate property (if any).” In response to this, Christine said her estranged husband’s “apparent fear that I will strip the house bare” was “completely unfounded.”

July 2023: Judge Reaches a Ruling on Kevin’s Child Support Payments

Judge Thomas Anderle ruled on July 11 that Kevin would have to pay Christine $129,755 per month in child support. This amount is less than half of Christine’s initial request of $248,444 per month, which Kevin said was “highly inflated and unsubstantiated.”

Christine’s lawyers additionally responded to Kevin’s request that she pay $100,000 to him to cover her and their children’s moving out of the family home. Calling the request “absurd” and “premature” in documents viewed by In Touch, Christine’s attorneys argued that their client has operated with a level head amid their divorce, additionally calling out the actor for his tactics.

Kevin, meanwhile, made the request under a “prevailing party” provision laid out in the premarital agreement. He was ordered to fess up $129,000 in child support and $300,000 in fees, both settlements that Christine’s party think are woefully shy of what she deserves.

“Christine negotiated in good faith and was willing to move out with reasonable child support in place. Kevin sought to use his virtually unlimited resources to kick Christine out of her home, to vastly underpay child support, and to deprive Christine of an equal playing field when it came to divorce fees and costs,” her lawyers argued. “Therefore, it is absurd for him to now distort Christine’s position and claim that he had to resort to an expensive RFO [aka Request for Offer] to get her to leave. This matter has already taken on a highly contentious tone. The record of requests made by the respective parties illuminates that Kevin is responsible for instigating and deepening that conflict.”

That same month, Christine was spotted on the beach in Hawaii with the former couple’s neighbor John Connor. “Kevin is sick over it,” a source told In Touch.

August 2023: Christine Asks for a ‘Comparable’ Lifestyle for Her and Kevin’s Kids

The divorce continued to reach new heights of messiness when Christine requested $200,000 a month in child support from her estranged husband, saying that the amount was need to maintain their children’s standard of living. “The Court is required to set child support at a level that, when the children are with Christine, they live a lifestyle relatively comparable to the one they enjoy when they are with their father,” her lawyers wrote in a brief filed one day before their August 31 hearing. “The Court order must allow the children to be supported at a level commensurate with Kevin’s considerable wealth, even if that level of support also improves the standard of living of Christine.”

Christine’s legal team further argued that the couple’s children should live in a “comparable house” to Kevin’s when they’re with Christine, as well as take relatively similar vacations.

“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,” Christine’s lawyers claimed. “This is true even if the child support payments also improve Christine’s lifestyle. In this case, the guideline child support requested by Christine of $175,057 per month will not be sufficient to replicate Kevin’s lifestyle, but it will be sufficient to allow her to provide a lifestyle for the children which is relatively comparable.”

September 2023: Kevin Costner’s Legal Team Opposes Christine’s Legal Fee Request

As their divorce continued to devolve, Kevin’s legal team heavily opposed Christine’s request for $885,000 to cover her legal fees. Calling the demand “nothing short of outrageous,” court documents showed how cold things became between the estranged spouses.

“Kevin has been forced to spend substantial attorney’s fees as a result of Christine’s uncooperative conduct – he has had to repeatedly go to court to (successfully) obtain relief – e.g. getting Christine to vacate his separate property house per the PMA, opposing her ex parte application to continue the hearing date on that RFO, and obtaining ex parte orders to prevent Christine from unilaterally taking his personal property from his home,” legal filings claimed. “Although Kevin is the wealthier party with a higher cash flow than Christine, Christine is quite capable of contributing to her own attorneys’ fees,” his team suggested, adding, “Christine’s own obstructive behavior caused the incurrence of legal fees by Kevin and Christine.”

The actor’s representation went as far as to call his ex’s demands “outlandish,” and claimed that her “stubborn refusal” in negotiations regarding property and belongings far extended the legal separation process.

Ultimately, “Kevin and Christine Costner have come to an amicable and mutually agreed upon resolution of all issues,” a rep for Kevin announced in September 2023.

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