Kevin Costner Says He’ll ‘Probably Go to Court’ Over ‘Yellowstone’ Exit

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowtone
Paramount Network

Yellowstone fans are hearing more about Kevin Costner’s exit from the Paramount Network hit — straight from the John Dutton portrayer himself.

Costner, 68, spoke out about his Yellowstone departure at a child support hearing in Santa Barbara, California, on Friday, September 1, according to People.

“It’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV [and] I’m not participating,” Costner said during the hearing, which is a part of his ongoing divorce from Christine Baumgartner.

The actor said that a “long, hard-fought negotiation” led to him leaving Yellowstone to focus on writing, directing, producing, and starring in Horizon: An American Saga, slated to be a four-part film series.

Kelly Reilly and Kevin Costner in 'Yellowstone'

Paramount Network

Costner told the court that after the decision was made to split Yellowstone Season 5 into two parts, he “changed” his schedule. “That’s a big deal in this world,” he added, per People.

Then came production issues, according to Costner’s recounting. The Yellowstone team “still hadn’t finished” the first part of Season 5, and there were “no scripts written” for the second part, he testified.

Costner said he wanted to return to Yellowstone for Season 6, but negotiations broke down. “I couldn’t help them anymore,” he said. “We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than [in] previous seasons, there were issues with the creative…”

He told his representatives to “have them pay me whatever number, we came up with a number, and they [Yellowstone] walked away,” he said.

Costner also revealed he was due to receive $12 million for each part of Season 5, and when asked about his paycheck for the second part, he said, “I will probably go to court over it.”

In May, after months of uncertainty about Costner’s future on Yellowstone, Paramount announced that the show would end with the upcoming second half of Season 5 and that a sequel series, also spearheaded by Taylor Sheridan, was in the works.

Sheridan weighed in on the Costner situation in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this June. “My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct,” he said. “He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did.”

One source told THR, however, that Costner repeatedly reserved time to shoot Yellowstone but had his scenes delayed. (“Kevin’s been unfairly portrayed in this thing,” the source added. “How can you schedule something when there are no scripts? [Sheridan’s] doing eight other shows.”)

Sheridan told the magazine that he never had an issue with Costner that the two of them couldn’t work out over the phone. “But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting,” the writer added. “He took a lot of this on the chin, and I don’t know that anyone deserves it. 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.”

Yellowstone, Season 5B Premiere, TBD, Paramount Network