Kevin Costner breaks silence on ‘Yellowstone’ exit and explains why he left the hit show

Kevin Costner in a cowboy hat and a dark suit silhouetted against mountains
Kevin Costner addressed his “Yellowstone” exit at a child support hearing.
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“Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner finally explained why he stepped away from the Dutton Ranch.

Taking the stand during a child support hearing on Friday, Costner said that he and the studios behind “Yellowstone” failed to strike a deal to ensure his continued commitment, according to multiple reports. The hearing in Santa Barbara comes amid his divorce from wife Christine Baumgartner.

“I couldn’t help them any more,” he said, People reported. “We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative.”


‘Yellowstone’ creator Taylor Sheridan said Kevin Costner’s abrupt exit from the series ‘truncates the closure of his character.’ ‘I’m disappointed,’ Sheridan said.

June 22, 2023

Speculation around Costner’s exit surfaced in February, when Deadline reported that Paramount Global and Paramount Network were looking to end “Yellowstone,” from co-creator and showrunner Taylor Sheridan. Months later, Paramount announced that “Yellowstone” would end with his fifth season, which aired in two parts.

The second half of the final season was set to premiere in November, though that was before the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes prompted studios and networks to reconsider their fall offerings.

In June, Sheridan opened up about the “Yellowstone” drama, saying that he was “disappointed” by Costner’s exit. “It truncates the closure of his character,” he told the Hollywood Reporter at the time. “It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”

Paramount Network says it isn’t moving on from ‘Yellowstone’ just yet — but wouldn’t mind having Matthew McConaughey in its Montana-centric universe.

Feb. 6, 2023

At the center of the alleged “Yellowstone” tension were creative differences and Costner’s commitment to his four-film series titled “Horizon.” Costner will star, direct and co-write the films.

“His movie seems to be a great priority to him and he wants to shift focus. I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it’s a good one,” Sheridan told THR.

Costner reportedly said during Friday’s hearing that he changed his “Horizon” schedule to film the first part of “Yellowstone” Season 5. He also alleged that no scripts for the season’s second half had been written. People reported that Costner was open to returning for a potential sixth season of the show.


“Have them pay me whatever number, we came up with a number, and they [‘Yellowstone’] walked away,’” said the Oscar-winning “Dances With Wolves” filmmaker. People reported that Costner was seeking $12 million.

‘Yellowstone’ star Kevin Costner and his wife, handbag designer Christine Baumgartner, are ending their 18-year marriage.

May 2, 2023

He reportedly added, “I will probably go to court” over compensation for the second half of Season 5.

“I’ve been told it’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV, I’m not participating,” he said, according to People.

Representatives for Paramount and Sheridan did not respond to The Times’ separate requests for comment Tuesday.

On Friday, a Santa Barbara judge ruled in favor of Costner, 68, deciding that his child support payments will not be increased. Baumgartner, 49, had requested that he pay a monthly total of $161,592. He will now pay $63,209 in monthly child support fees, according to Fox News Digital.

Attendees demanded refunds on social media after star Kevin Costner, creator Taylor Sheridan and others missed a scheduled panel at PaleyFest L.A.

April 2, 2023

Former model and handbag designer Baumgartner filed to dissolve her 18-year marriage to Costner in May.


“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,” a rep for Costner told The Times. “We ask that his, Christine’s and their children’s privacy be respected as they navigate this difficult time.”

Times staff writer Emily St. Martin contributed to this report.