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Kevin Costner Is Ready to ‘Take The High Ground’ Amid Messy Divorce From Christine Baumgartner (Exclusive)

Ever since Kevin Costner’s wife, Christine Baumgartner, filed for divorce from the A-list actor on May 1, the estranged couple have been at war over everything from the validity of their prenuptial agreement to who gets to keep the former couple’s pots and pans.

According to a source, Costner, 68, is now ready to pump the brakes on the drama. “Kevin and his lawyers have made a concerted effort to lower the temperature and stop the tide of bad publicity,” explains the source. “He doesn’t want this to be a drawn-out [divorce.]”

The Yellowstone star was said to be blindsided when Baumgartner, 49, pulled the plug on their relationship after 18 years of marriage. “Kevin feels betrayed by Christine, but he wants to take the high ground,” adds the source, noting that the actor has been focused on his children (he and Baumgartner share Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 13) and his upcoming film, Horizon: An American Saga. “Kevin doesn’t want to waste more time fighting with Christine.”

By most accounts, Baumgartner was unhappy with how much time Costner devoted to work over the past few years. Filming his hit series, Yellowstone, in Montana kept him away from home for months at a time. “Their marriage seemed solid and like they were in it for the long term, but the time apart clearly took a toll,” says a second source. “Christine just couldn’t cope.”

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Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

Things got ugly fast. In mid-June, court docs revealed that Baumgartner was refusing to leave the family’s $145 million Santa Barbara compound, despite their prenup stating she had to vacate the property within 30 days of the divorce filing. (She left in late July after their lawyers duked it out over who could keep certain household items like kitchen cutlery.)

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They fought over child support (Baumgartner requested $248,000 per month; a judge ordered Costner to fork over temporary monthly payments of $129,755), and in court documents from Aug. 10, Costner’s attorneys accused Baumgartner’s legal team of “gamesmanship of the worst sort” in light of her claims she “felt pressured” to sign their premarital agreement. (They are due in court in November to hash out child support and the terms of their prenup.)

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Lester Cohen/Getty Images for Omnipeace Foundation

The first source says Costner — whose 1994 divorce from his first wife, Cindy Silva, reportedly resulted in an $80 million settlement — is now taking a step back and “letting his lawyers figure it all out” while he and Baumgartner keep their distance. “They are only speaking through intermediaries,” notes the source. “Kevin would rather use the silent treatment than deal with Christine directly anymore.”

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The Oscar winner feels he’s been more than reasonable. “Kevin sees himself as having all the class and integrity in this situation,” says the first source, insisting that “Christine will get a fair deal.” Costner — who owns another property in Santa Barbara and a 160-acre ranch in Colorado, along with a multimillion-dollar art collection — has a “what’s mine is mine” attitude regarding the division of assets, says the source.

Adds a third source: “Kevin doesn’t hate Christine, but he does want a clean break. Of course, there are resentments and animosity, but that comes with the territory, and he’s trying not to make it personal.”

While the first source notes there are some concerns that Baumgartner still has ammo “she can throw at Kevin,” the actor feels confident things will work out in his favor. “Kevin is a chess player,” says the source, “and he will outplay Christine.”

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Costner and Baumgartner posed with their three children at the 2019 premiere of The Art of Racing in the Rain. PAPIX/

As he recovers from the split, Costner’s been leaning on friends and his daughter Lily, 37, from his marriage to Silva. (They also share Annie, 39, and Joe, 35; and Costner shares Liam, 27, with ex Bridget Rooney.) “Lily is the ‘Kevin whisperer’ in the family and the one who keeps him calm and sane,” explains the first source. The second source says Costner’s younger kids with Baumgartner are handling the split “surprisingly well,” adding, “They’re sad, but they’re being very levelheaded and mature about it all.”

Work has been a welcome reprieve. After five seasons of Yellowstone, he’s ready for what’s next. (In a June interview, showrunner Taylor Sheridan told The Hollywood Reporter he was “disappointed” that Costner wanted to exit the series before filming the second half of season 5, with the publication reporting there are still ongoing discussions to try to convince the star to film a few scenes.)

Yellowstone was a huge success, but Kevin hated not having enough input, and that’s what caused the friction with Taylor,” says the second source. “He wants to challenge himself.”

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Costner is putting it all on the line for his upcoming four-part Western, Horizon: An American Saga — even taking out a mortgage to fund it himself. “I’ve mortgaged 10 acres on the water in Santa Barbara where I was going to build my last house. But I did it without a thought,” the writer-director recently told Deadline. “It’s thrown my accountant into a f**king conniption fit. But it’s my life, and I believe in the idea and the story.”

The first source tells Us he’s happy to risk it all. “Directing Horizon has been an A-plus experience,” the source says, noting Costner, who’s also starring in the film series, is working alongside his longtime collaborators. “During his years on Yellowstone, he had none of his loyalists around him, which was the big reason why he left that show.”

The source says that the first two installments of Horizon are about 75 percent done. (The on-location scenes were filmed before the Hollywood strikes began.) “Kevin won’t settle for anything less than perfection when it comes to Horizon,” adds the source. “He wants it to be his biggest success since the days of Dances With Wolves. He’s thrown everything he has into making it.”

2336 Us Weekly Kevin Costner Cover Story Christine Baumgartner Moving
Baumgartner was seen carrying boxes of clothing from her storage until on Aug. 15. GP/MEGA

Costner is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “Kevin’s been to hell and back, but the feeling you get from people in his circle is that he’s finally coming out the other side,” says the second source. “He’s throwing himself into his work and surrounding himself with people he can trust. Divorce sucks, but he’s toughing it out.”

Adds the source: “Kevin has a lot of confidence in his attorneys, and he’s staying busy with his career and continues to have a very special relationship with his kids. He firmly believes that brighter times are ahead.”

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