Kevin Costner, the renowned star of Yellowstone, has at last shed light on his decision to step away from the iconic Dutton Ranch.
During a child support hearing held on Friday in Santa Barbara, Costner divulged that he and the production studios responsible for Yellowstone were unable to reach an agreement to ensure his continued involvement, as reported by several sources. This revelation comes amidst Costner's ongoing divorce proceedings with his wife, Christine Baumgartner.
Costner stated, "I couldn't continue with them," as reported by People. He elaborated that negotiations faltered, with the studio offering him a reduced compensation compared to previous seasons, all the while grappling with creative conflicts. The speculation surrounding Costner's exit first emerged in February, with Deadline reporting that Paramount Global and Paramount Network were considering concluding Yellowstone, created by Taylor Sheridan, a native of Fort Worth. Several months later, Paramount officially announced that Yellowstone would conclude with its fifth season, which aired in two parts. The second half of the final season was originally scheduled to premiere in November; however, the ongoing writers' and actors' strikes prompted studios and networks to reconsider their fall programming. In June, Sheridan expressed his disappointment over Costner's departure, stating that it would impact the conclusion of Costner's character on the show but not alter it significantly, as conveyed in The Hollywood Reporter. Sheridan also expressed hope that Costner's dedication to his four-film series, Horizon, would prove worthwhile. At the core of the reported Yellowstone tensions were creative disparities and Costner's commitment to the Horizon film series, in which he serves as the star, director, and co-writer. Costner revealed during Friday's hearing that he had adjusted his Horizon schedule to film the first part of Yellowstone Season 5. Additionally, he claimed that no scripts had been written for the second half of the season. People reported that Costner was open to the possibility of returning for a potential sixth season but had sought a compensation of $12 million. "I was willing to have them pay me whatever figure we agreed upon, and they [Yellowstone] walked away," said the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Dances With Wolves. He even hinted at the possibility of pursuing legal action regarding compensation for the second half of Season 5. "I've been told it's a bit disappointing that the No. 1 show on TV no longer includes my participation," he remarked, according to People. Notably, representatives for Paramount and Sheridan did not respond to requests for comment from the Los Angeles Times. In a significant development on Friday, a Santa Barbara judge ruled in favor of Costner, determining that there would be no increase in his child support payments. Baumgartner had initially requested a monthly sum of $161,592, but the ruling now mandates that Costner pay $63,209 in monthly child support fees, as reported by Fox News Digital. Costner's estranged wife, Christine Baumgartner, a former model and handbag designer, filed for divorce from him in May. A representative for Costner expressed, "It is with great sadness that circumstances beyond his control have necessitated Mr. Costner's involvement in a dissolution of marriage proceeding," while also requesting privacy for Costner, Christine, and their children as they navigate this challenging period.