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Did Kevin Costner's Reason For Marrying Estranged Wife Spell Trouble From The Start?

Photo: Kathy Hutchins, Featureflash Photo Agency, DFree / Shutterstock 
kevin costner, christine baumgartner, marriage, divorce

In May 2023, it became public knowledge that “Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner and his wife Christine Baumgartner were going their separate ways after 18 years of marriage. 

To some fans, the news came as a shock since the couple had known each other for over 25 years and had built a seemingly successful life and family together. However, others believed that their marriage may have been doomed from the start. 

The two envisioned very different goals for their future that would eventually lead to the crash and burn of their relationship. 

Before marrying Christine Baumgartner, Kevin Costner was hesitant to have children.

Baumgartner she wanted more children, while Costner did not. Two years before meeting Baumgartner, Costner’s then-wife of 16 years, Cindy Silva, filed for divorce after multiple reports surfaced that Costner was having an affair with hula dancer Michele Amaral. 

Costner and Silva had three children together: Annie, Lily, and Joe. After the divorce, Costner remained close to them. He also took full responsibility for the demise of his marriage in a 1995 interview. 

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“A series of events conspired to happen at the same time. I know it hurt some people that I had failed in my marriage. And the marriage was my own failure,” he disclosed.

Less than two years after his first divorce, Costner engaged in a brief fling with Bridget Rooney, and they welcomed a son, Liam, together in 1996. 

By the time Costner met and began dating Baumgartner, he was 40 years old and attempting to balance his acting career with fatherhood between four different children. At the time, Baumgartner was just a ripe 22-year-old with no children and dreams of one day having a family of her own. 

kevin costner and ex wife Christine BaumgartnerPhoto: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock 

This was something that Costner was doubtful he could provide her with, and the two even broke up for a period of time due to their differences in how they wanted to proceed with the future.

“[Baumgartner] wanted a child, but I was afraid I couldn't be an effective father,” he told Closer Weekly in 2018. “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?’” 

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Costner decided to marry Baumgartner and have children with her in order to avoid losing her. 

Ultimately, it was this fear that motivated him to marry Baumgartner before she moved on with someone else who genuinely wanted a family without even having to think twice about it.

The couple tied the knot in 2004 after six years of dating. They went on to welcome three children together: Cayden, Hayes, and Grace. 

For the first few years after having more children, Costner ended up taking a four-year acting hiatus to focus on his new family. While he would go on to resume his job once his children were older, it did not take long before the priority differences between him and Baumgartner began to pose an issue. 

In 2022, Costner was given an ultimatum by Baumgartner to quit his show “Yellowstone” since he was away from home so often, per Radar Online. Just a year later, Baumgartner filed for divorce from Costner after 18 years of marriage. 

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While the decision may have been a difficult one for the couple to come to terms with, it was something that some people claimed to have seen coming a long time ago. 

Kevin Costner may have married his ex-wife Christine Baumgartner for all the wrong reasons. 

Unfortunately, romantic partnerships are more than just being attracted to one another. It is about compatibility and sharing the same long-term goals. 

If you plan on spending your life with someone, it is important to have discussions about what you envision for the future, including marriage, living situations, careers, and starting a family, and ensure that you are on the same page or at least find some healthy middle ground. 

As difficult as it can be, being honest with your partner about exactly what you want from life is the best thing you can do for them and for yourself, even if you may lose them. This way, your partner will not be setting themselves up for unrealistic expectations, and you will not resent them for holding you back in any way if your goals for the future look different. 

Speaking to Verywell Mind, licensed marriage and family therapist Anita Chlipala explained why it is so important to discuss family plans with your partner if you plan on marrying them, and why it is certainly not something you should agree to you if you are not 100% on board due to the fear of losing them. 

"Although you don’t have to have every detail figured out, you both need to have these kinds of conversations to see how close or far apart you are in terms of expectations," she says. 

"I’ve worked with clients where Partner A changed their mind because they didn’t want to lose the relationship, but then years later they ended up breaking up anyway because Partner A just couldn’t bring themselves to follow through on having children… And for either partner, I also want to make sure they did the work to own their decision; otherwise, this could be a breeding ground for resentment down the road." 

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Resentment may very well have resulted in the breakdown of Costner and Baumgartner’s marriage.

There could also very well be resentment if the couple ends up having children when one party was unsure about the decision from the start, since they may have their own priorities and goals put on hold to raise the family they did not necessarily want in the first place. 

In Costner's cast, he may have believed that he could keep Baumgartner by agreeing to her desires, even though they did not align with his, but his decision would eventually come back to haunt him and doom his relationship. 

While the two may have deeply loved each other, the best possible decision should have been made over two decades ago. 

“If you both are adamant about your stance and won’t change your mind, stop dating each other. It’s easier to walk away before you fall in love,” Chlipala adds. "You’d be wasting your time and are better off finding someone with similar goals." 

There is no right or wrong answer to the question, “Do you want to start a family?” Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, whatever they may be. 

However, the best answer is honesty and directness. As painful as it may be in the moment, it it nothing compared to the heartbreak you will suffer years down the road if these conversations are not addressed. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.