When we learned last week that Christine Baumgartner was essentially squatting in her soon-to-be-ex-husband Kevin Costner’s house until he coughed up more alimony, the public got a peek into just how contentious the surprise divorce is getting. (I say surprise divorce, because Baumgartner supposedly “blindsided” Mr. Yellowstone when she hit him with papers.)
Then on Wednesday, People published a major look into the split, based on court documents filed by Baumgartner’s lawyers. Among the revelations is that Costner allegedly broke the news of the couple’s divorce to their three children (Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 13) without Baumgartner’s consent or her presence. Not only that, but Baumgartner, through her lawyers, claimed that Costner did so over a 10-minute Zoom call, despite her urging that they present the news as a unit in person. Bad cowboy!
“The children’s welfare has always been my highest priority, and I was concerned they would find out about the divorce before Kevin and I could tell them. It was important for me that we tell the children in person and together,” Baumgartner says in the court documents. “He disregarded my proposal to do what I felt was right based on research and my relationship with the children. Instead, he insisted that he had the right to tell them that we were getting divorced ‘first’ and tell them privately ‘without me present.’”
Baumgartner says she sent Costner, who was away filming on location in Las Vegas, “several articles about the importance of talking to the children as a united front.” I love the attempt to ease this tough time via research, but this also feels a bit like the behavior of a Great Aunt who floods her relatives’ Facebook feeds with obviously fake news articles.
“After a 24-year relationship, from his hotel room in Las Vegas, Kevin told our three children that we were getting divorced over a 10-minute Zoom call without me present,” she continued. “I am still confused by his motivation to do this via a very short Zoom session, especially since he was planning on being home five days later. He also could have easily come home from Las Vegas to have the conversation in person.”
Costner’s excuse, at least according to a People magazine source? “He FaceTimes all the time with the kids when he is away working.”
The second bombshell is that Baumgartner is asking for $248,000 a month in child support, according to the court documents. Already constricted by a prenup, Baumgartner asserts that the number “is less than the amount needed to maintain the children in their accustomed lifestyle” and is separate from the request that Costner pay for the kids’ private-school tuition, extracurricular activities, and healthcare expenses.
Also included in the paperwork is Costner’s eye-popping 2022 income—$19,517,0641—and the family’s equally eye-popping expenses last year: $6,645,285. Some of the “expenses” include frequent travel to the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Aspen, hosting duties, caterers, and chefs. Maintaining their several properties alone costs roughly $2 million a year.
Jezebel is canonically pro-divorce, and if there’s a right way to split from your spouse, Christine could teach a master class on how to do s0—even with a prenup in place. The more she can suss out about her wealthy ex’s bad behavior—like say, going rogue on Zoom—the more she can build a strong case in her favor for more. Get that coin, Christine!