Kevin Costner may have been famous for several decades now, but not everyone who knows and loves his movies will be familiar with his personal life. It turns out, then, that Costner has been married twice, while he’s also the father to seven kids. And the actor’s second marriage to model and designer Christine Baumgartner has so far lasted for 15 years – although that hasn’t stopped him from making a eye-opening revelation or two about that union.
Yet even if Costner remains a household name, his career hasn’t always been smooth sailing. For all the hit films that he’s made – Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard, for example – he’s also had some major failures, such as Waterworld and The Postman. More recently, though, Costner has predominantly taken up supporting roles in movies such as Man of Steel and Hidden Figures.
And throughout it all, Costner has had to balance his up-and-down acting career with a personal life that has also occasionally been turbulent. But after having been married to Baumgartner for well over a decade, he seems to have settled down once and for all. In fact, Costner has even revealed to the media how he’s managed to finally find contentment – along with other revelations about his relationship.
Back in the days before Costner was a movie star, however, he embarked on a relationship with Cindy Silva, whom he had met at college. The couple went on to wed in 1978, and Costner subsequently undertook acting tuition while doing various jobs. At one point, in fact, he was a guide showing tourists around the Hollywood houses of the rich and famous.
Then the actor finally hit the big time just as he and Silva began building a family together. Their first child Annie was born in 1984, with Costner appearing in Silverado the following year. And the couple’s next two children, Lily and Joe, were born on separate sides of the release of the movie that would make Costner’s career: 1987’s The Untouchables.
Of course, plenty more hit films would follow for Costner, with Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves all succeeding at the box office. The Western film even garnered the star two Oscars. And at that time, the actor’s marriage seemed to be going well, too. “I was just really proud that this girl would go out with me,” he said of Silva during an interview with People in 1989.
Unfortunately, this run of personal and professional success all came to an end not long afterwards. In 1994, while Costner was working on the troubled Waterworld, speculation arose that he was seeing another woman. And in fall of that year, he and Silva would publicly announce that they were getting a divorce.
The pair released a joint statement to the media, reading, “After 16 years together, we are ending our marriage. We have amicably resolved all issues regarding our children and financial affairs, and a full marital settlement has been reached.” Silva would reportedly walk away with $80 million or so after the divorce had been finalized.
And People subsequently interviewed some insiders about the end of the marriage – although not Costner and Silva themselves. “You could see their relationship wasn’t working out,” said an anonymous member of the Waterworld crew. “They didn’t act like a family. She was doing her thing, he was doing his.”
The magazine also spoke with John McInnes, who was a friend of the couple. “I think [Costner and Silva’s] relationship as individuals will be okay,” he said. “They have a common love, their kids, who are the most important thing to both of them. I don’t think they’ll have one of those cutthroat relationships. It’s just sad, because they were the perfect couple.”
Following the divorce, however, an even more controversial period of Costner’s life began. After a difficult production, Waterworld proved to be a huge flop upon its release in 1995. At this point, Costner was now seeing actress and heiress Bridget Rooney. And while he tried to keep their relationship on the down low, that didn’t work out so well in the end.
In 1996 Rooney welcomed a child, in fact, and after she had demanded a paternity test, the baby, Liam, turned out to be Costner’s. Subsequently, the relationship – or lack of one – between Liam and Costner has been the subject of media scrutiny. In 1998 Costner even sued a European magazine over an article that it had published about his son.
The offending piece, which appeared in the magazine Hola! in 1997, alleged that Costner had “mixed feelings” towards Liam. According to the article, he believed that Rooney had “wanted to get pregnant to ensnare” him and that Liam “through no fault of his own [had] been forced on” the star.
Yet Costner firmly denied that he’d ever said anything of the sort. “All of the alleged quotations in the article are pure fiction,” the resulting lawsuit read. “Costner has never made such remarks, nor has he ever given – or consented to give – an interview dealing with the private concerns allegedly revealed in the article.”
Whatever has happened since between Costner and his second son seems to have remained largely private over the years. In 2002, however, People spoke to an anonymous friend of Rooney who claimed that Costner was supporting Liam financially and visited him “occasionally but not on a regular basis.”
It could be argued, too, that Costner’s career never fully overcame the joint disasters of Waterworld and The Postman. Indeed, although he eventually emerged from the shadows cast by the failures of those movies, his time as a leading man in major Hollywood productions appeared to be more or less up.
Thankfully, Costner’s personal life was at least beginning to take a turn for the better. In 1998 he again crossed paths with a woman he’d run into in the past: Christine Baumgartner. “We exchanged numbers, and I told her… Did she mind if I called her in two weeks? I did not realize that was like an insult to a woman,” Costner revealed to People in 2003.
Despite that less than perfect start to their relationship, though, things went well between Costner and Baumgartner – until the question of children arose. And in 2002 the media duly reported that the pair had parted ways. An anonymous friend of Costner’s told People that same year that things had “got too complicated” between the couple.
But it seemed that the two were meant to be together after all. Costner and Baumgartner ultimately reconciled, you see, and in September 2004 they married. The wedding took place on Costner’s ranch in Aspen, with many famous faces and former co-stars attending the ceremony – including Don Johnson, Tim Allen and Mary McDonnell.
And since then, Costner and Baumgartner have had three children together. Their first, a boy named Cayden, came along in May 2007 when Costner was 52, with the birth causing the actor to ponder his own mortality. “My fundamental fear is that my new baby – someone else will raise him, meaning that my life will end prematurely. I won’t get to coach him in what I think it is to be a man,” he told People at the time.
Then, the following year, Costner spoke to Parade about the turmoil that he’d been experiencing before having kids with Baumgartner. “For years, fear kept me from marrying Christine,” he explained. “Christine wanted a child, but I was afraid I couldn’t be an effective father.”
And there was more. After his divorce from Silva, Costner told the magazine that he couldn’t settle down romantically. “I was like the classic single guy; who do I love this week, who next week?” he explained. “I wouldn’t even use the word ‘love’ with someone, because that makes things trickier.”
Thankfully, things changed for Costner – and for Baumgartner as well. “[One day] 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?’ That’s all it took,” the star explained. “I decided that I was not going to miss out on love.”
In fact, Costner and Baumgartner went on to have two more children together: Hayes in 2009 and Grace the following year. And in 2011 Costner gave an interview to The Daily Telegraph about family life. “They’re really good children, and I see them making steps every day,” he said of his offspring. “The one thing I pray for in life is not success but being able to raise my children – and that nothing happens to me in the next 20 years.”
In the same interview, Costner also talked about his career. “I haven’t worked for a really long time, because I tend to make movies that aren’t sequels, so I’m not exactly in vogue,” he explained. “I won’t make a movie unless I have the ability to do it the way I want, so I hold my breath for a very long time.”
Costner did, however, appear in an acclaimed TV show in 2012. That year, he starred in Hatfields & McCoys – based on the true story of the two eponymous families – and received a great deal of praise for his role. Costner even scooped awards for his performance as William Anderson Hatfield, receiving both a Golden Globe and the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie.
And in 2012 Costner would also choose to give a revealing interview about his wife and kids to Parade magazine. During that conversation, he explained how he and Baumgartner had eventually worked things out when it came to the issue of having children. It seems that Baumgartner had told her partner, “I’m going to wait for you – but not [for] long. When you come to your senses, come back to me.” And, Costner said, he eventually did.
Then, when the interviewer asked Costner what he thought had made his marriage succeed, the actor went on to reveal the inner workings of his relationship. “Maybe it’s the ability to say you’re sorry,” he stated. “I know that sounds so simple. If you’re willing to tell somebody that you love them, are you also willing to say you’re sorry? You need to, even when you think you’re in the right.”
And Costner discussed how it felt to be an older dad. “I want to live forever, and I know I won’t,” he said. “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m only afraid of one thing: not being able to raise my kids. When I pray, that’s what I pray for: that I be the one who raises Grace, Hayes and Cayden.”
Then there was Costner’s love of acting. “I’ve always felt performance-oriented,” he admitted. “If you compare acting to a sports moment where you’re down to the last shot or pitch, a lot of people wouldn’t want to be in that situation. I’ve always liked it. I’ve never thought as much about the things that could go wrong as what can possibly go right.”
In terms of those performances, Costner has been racking up plenty of supporting roles in recent years. From 2014 to 2017 he was seen in movies such as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Black or White, Hidden Figures and Molly’s Game. In 2018, meanwhile, he pivoted to TV again as the lead in Paramount’s Yellowstone.
And in 2014 Costner gave an interview to HuffPost for Father’s Day. Naturally, then, he would talk about his own children, who at that point ranged in age from 30 to four. Liam was mentioned to boot; according to the article, Costner’s son had been “raised on the East Coast with his parents.” That seemed to be a reference to Rooney and Bill Koch, the businessman whom she had wed in 2005.
But Costner went on to share some stories about his younger kids, too. “They each want a story at night,” he said. “What they always want is a story about me about when I was a kid. I don’t know why they are so into that, but for the last two years it’s only a story about what I did. I think they measure themselves by me and the kind of things I did.”
The HuffPost interviewer then asked Costner, “What’s the one thing you hope your children remember about you?” Costner answered, “I think that I played with them. That I didn’t talk down to them. That I was on ground-level with them… That their dad wasn’t afraid of anything.”
And Costner finished that interview with another small revelation. “My life, for whatever people think about it, is really so normal. I love making movies. I love making music,” he said. “Those have brought a level of worldwide fame on some level, but it’s not really how I think of myself. It doesn’t help me get through my day at all here. I love my family, and I love being a father!”
Nor was that the last time that Costner would speak about his kids in public. When he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in 2015, the actor thanked his family before going on to talk about how he balanced movie-making with the hard work of raising children.
Costner first addressed how it felt to leave his kids when he went away to make a film. “All the years [and] all the tears saying goodbye at airports as I headed off to do yet another movie,” he said. “Their brave faces trying to comprehend the time that I would be away and when I would come home. Hugs that never wanted to end.”
“My children have always been bigger than the movies,” Costner continued. “They’ve always been more important. It’s because of them that I’ve been able to do what I love.” And he concluded his speech by saying, “This can only end where it started, so I want to say a simple thank you to my parents and my beautiful wife and partner.”
It seems, too, that Costner and Baumgartner’s relationship continues to be a happy one. At least, that’s what can be surmised from the actor’s words during promotion for his new Netflix film The Highwaymen in March 2019. “For me, I try to stay relevant because I have three kids I play with – I play hard – and I try to take care of myself,” he told the Press Association. “I have a beautiful wife, and I don’t want her to look anywhere else. I want to be something for her.”
Costner’s career similarly seems to be thriving. In 2019 he was in The Art of Racing in the Rain as well as the aforementioned The Highwaymen, while next up is the movie Let Him Go alongside Diane Lane. Yellowstone is still on air, too. And for the time being at least, Costner will be doing it all with his children and beloved wife at his side.