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Home » Kevin Costner Is Taking a ‘Massive Gamble’ With ‘Horizon’ After Divorce

Kevin Costner Is Taking a ‘Massive Gamble’ With ‘Horizon’ After Divorce

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As the credits of Kevin Costner’s new film, Horizon: An American Saga, began to roll at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, the audience rose to their feet for an epic, seven-minute standing ovation. An emotional Costner — flanked by his costars on one side and five of his seven children on the other — appeared to take it all in as he fought back tears. “I’ll never forget this,” he later told the crowd. “Neither will my children.” Costner, says a source, “loved that his kids were there to support him.”

It’s no secret Costner put his heart and soul — and roughly $38 million of his own cash — into the making of Horizon, a four-part Western that he wrote, directed and stars in alongside Sienna Miller and Sam Worthington. (The first installment is out on June 28; the second on August 16.) “This is his passion project,” says the first source, with a second adding, “He’s convinced in the power of this story.”

The film’s release comes at a pivotal time for the 69-year-old Oscar winner. Last summer, he went through a painful — and public — divorce from his wife of 18 years, Christine Baumgartner. The split came on the heels of his shocking exit from his hit TV series, Yellowstone, amid reports of a bitter feud between him and the show’s cocreator, Taylor Sheridan. Now, with Horizon finally seeing the light of day and his broken heart on the mend (he was spotted cozying up to folk singer Jewel in late 2023) — as well as talk he’ll return to Yellowstone for the second half of its final season — Costner, says the first source, is having something of a rebirth: “He’s really focused. This feels like a new era for him.”

Aurore Marechal/Abaca Press/INSTARimages

Painful Split

The veteran actor was said to have been blindsided when Baumgartner, 50, filed for divorce. (The pair share Cayden, 17, Hayes, 15, and Grace, 13; he’s also dad to Annie, 40, Lily, 37, Joe, 36, and Liam, 28, from previous relationships.) During their ugly, four-month court battle, the exes fought over everything from child support payments to the division of kitchenware before finally settling in September 2023. “This is a horrible place to be,” Costner said publicly following a court appearance in late August. “It feels so bad.”

The second source says it was Baumgartner’s decision to pull the plug. “She didn’t really give Kevin an opportunity to try and fix things,” explains the source of her decision. “It was very painful but I believe Kevin’s moved on.”

Baumgartner began dating the couple’s former friend, financier Josh Connor, 49, soon after the split. “Kevin saw how fast Christine moved on, and it’s hurtful, but he’s gotten past it,” says the first source, noting that the actor is “relieved” their legal battle is behind them. The source notes that Costner still has some regrets over their marriage ending, adding, “He wished they could have worked things out.”

Contact between the exes centers around the children. “Kevin would still have a relationship with Christine,” says the first source, “but she will not communicate with him unless it’s regarding the younger kids.”

Love Life

Costner sparked romance rumors with Jewel in December when they were photographed together at a charity event for her Inspiring Children Foundation in the British Virgin Islands. The “Foolish Games” singer, 50, played coy when asked if they were dating in April, saying, “He’s a great person.” According to a third source, Costner doesn’t have much time to date. “He’s too focused on his work,” the source says, adding that Costner would prefer to get close to someone “outside of the Hollywood scene” if and when his schedule allows. Adds the first source: “Kevin’s gone on casual dates, but it’s not his priority.”

He’s concentrating on his career and his children for now. “Kevin makes a lot of time for the kids and tries to include them in everything he’s working on,” says the first source. His son Hayes makes his acting debut in Horizon. “He’s very good,” the proud dad gushed at CinemaCon in April. “He has an impact on the movie.”

Back to the Ranch

Fans were shocked when it was reported Costner had quit Yellowstone in May 2023. The star of the beloved Western drama later revealed salary disputes and creative differences were behind the decision. “We tried to negotiate,” Costner explained. “They offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative …”

Multiple sources tell Us there’s a good chance he’ll return for the second half of season 5 (the first half debuted in November 2022; the final installment is due out this November). The second and third sources both say the A-lister will need to approve scripts before he officially signs on. “Ultimately, everyone wants a resolution,” says the third source. “Kevin is such an integral part of the show. Despite all the behind-the-scenes drama, that’s what fans want.”

Costner was cautiously optimistic about coming back during an April interview, saying in part, “I hope it does [work out]. I’d love to do it.” If he doesn’t return, the second and third sources say show producers may kill off his John Dutton character off-camera.

Taking Risks

Things may not get resolved until Costner finishes up on the two remaining Horizon films. Production on the third installment began in May, and Costner loves the responsibility of being the boss on a set. “That’s his comfort zone,” says the second source. “He enjoys calling the shots and being the true master of his own destiny. That’s why he’s pushing forward with Horizon beyond the two films coming out this summer.”

So far, reviews of the first installment are mixed — it was embraced at Cannes, but critics are divided. “He’d be disappointed if it isn’t well received,” says the first source. (The star’s 1995 film Waterworld famously lost roughly $100 million when it came out.) “Kevin’s been through this before,” notes the second source, pointing out that eventual fan favorites like Field of Dreams and The Bodyguard were also met with skepticism before they came out. “He always relishes proving the haters wrong,” adds the source. “It’s a massive gamble, but it’s a story Kevin feels he has to tell.”

For more on Costner’s new era, watch the video above and pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.

With reporting by Andrea Simpson and Amanda Williams

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