Kevin Costner has taken the stand in his divorce hearing, chuckling at times and becoming engaged in an angry war of words with his ex-wife’s lawyer in others.
He is testifying about his personal wealth and whether he believes Christine Baumgartner’s new rental home to be ‘comparable’ to his sprawling beachfront property.
Asked if the single property compared to his five lot compound, the veteran actor said: ‘I only live in one of the properties so I believe they’re comparable. I don’t think they’re equal.’
When attorney John Rydell asked if he would swap homes with his ex, Costner, wearing a pair of black framed glasses, burst out laughing and quipped: ‘This is tricky!’
He went on: ‘No, I would not but not because I don’t think that home is comparable.
‘I have raised three children in my home, their hands are in the stone. I think most people would understand that.’
Smiling, he added: ‘There are some features [of Baumgartner’s new house] I’d like to have in mine.’
The 68-year-old star took the stand Friday morning and was grilled by his estranged wife Christine Baumgartner’s legal team
Christine is seen arriving to court on Friday for the second day of her custody hearing
Asked if the single property compared to his five lot compound, the veteran actor said: ‘I only live in one of the properties so I believe they’re comparable. I don’t think they’re equal.’ Costner’s $145m mansion is pictured
Costner’s testimony followed a morning dominated by wrangling over figures and whether or not the actor’s tax liabilities had been taken into account.
At one point, the actor was seen nodding in agreement when his attorney Susan Wiesner got forensic accountant Jill Bombino to accept his tax payments had not been deducted from her figures.
Rydell claimed that was because Costner failed to turn his tax returns over to his wife’s team.
Both Costner and Baumgartner arrived early for the second day, with Costner sneaking in through a side door a navy blue tailored suit. Baumgartner wore a black slacks and a white blouse.
Costner’s new role is due to his ongoing divorce battle with the pair fighting over child support payments – he wants to pay $60,000 per month while she is demanding $161,592.
On the opening day of the two-day hearing, the court heard how Costner rakes in $1,468,953 per month and lives in a sprawling beachfront property with five lots inside that is worth between $75m and $95m according to Baumgartner.
She is currently renting a luxury home for $40,000-a-month but says it isn’t good enough for their family and wants to trade up to a $150,000-a-month home close to her old one if she can get her child support payments bumped up.
During her testimony, Baumgartner described the family’s lavish lifestyle – including Christmas parties that saw the pair ship 40 tons of snow to sunny Santa Barbara and Aspen vacations at Costner’s 160,000-acre ranch.
But things turned edgy when the subject of Josh Connor – a family friend who she traveled to Hawaii with last month – was raised.
Costner has accused her of being in a relationship with recently divorced Connor. As a result, Baumgartner was forced to deny the pair were an item on the stand and was made to attempt to explain two envelopes of cash he gave her – each containing $10,000.
One was handed to her mother who, until the separation, had been enjoying monthly payments of $5,000-a-month towards her mortgage.
Baumgartner says she kept the other at home and eventually returned it to Connor ‘because I don’t need the money right now.’
She told the court he had dropped the envelopes in her purse after she had confided in him that she was worried about her finances due to the ongoing divorce battle.
The mom-of-three also had to admit she had borrowed $80,000 from her brother to pay the first installment of the rent on her new home but blamed that on Costner who, she said, had previously deducted cash from her current child support payments.
She said she had since reimbursed her brother for the money but squirmed when asked by Susan Wiesner – one of Costner’s attorneys – whether she plans to get a job or is in fact planning to pay her bills using the child support she is awarded.
The hearing concerns the future of their three children: sons Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and daughter Grace, 13
Baumgartner’s lawyer spoke of the family’s lavish lifestyle when in Aspen, Colorado – describing how the ranch has sledding trails that light up at night and have music piped through the trees, as well as multiple canoes and fishing lakes
The 49-year-old also became sharp when Wiesner pointed out she bought her parents a $50,000 BMW SUV each at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 and had acquired a membership at the Montecito Country Club for herself and her family around the same time.
Membership fees at the luxury golf club start at $100,000 but can cost as much as $275,000 for the top tier.
Prior to that, Baumgartner also spent a long time explaining why her new residence doesn’t offer her children a ‘comparable’ lifestyle to the one they have with their father.
Adjusting a pair of white-framed glasses and speaking confidently, she talked the court through a series of photos of Costner’s Carpinteria property – among them pictures showing the bleached wood deck, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a chicken coop and two guest homes.
Interior shots showed decor designed to chime with what she described as ‘California living’ with colorful striped rugs, tan leather couches and a huge marble table with dark wooden chairs overlooking the ocean.
Baumgartner, who introduced herself to the court as ‘Costner’, also told of the family’s sporty lifestyle which includes regular surfing, fishing, scuba diving and volleyball.
That includes a boat owned by their son Cayden, 16, and a dedicated room set aside to hold the family’s large collection of surfboards, wetsuits and paddle boards.
Baumgartner was talked through her two recent vacations to Hawaii in March and July with Josh Connor – who she described as a ‘family friend’. They’re pictured in Hawaii in July
Costner has accused her of being in a relationship with recently divorced Connor. As a result, Baumgartner was forced to deny the pair were an item on the stand and was made to attempt to explain two envelopes of cash he gave her – each containing $10,000
The Carpinteria property consists of five separate lots, one of which is a former neighbor’s residence purchased in 2016 and now used as a guesthouse, as well as a site for ‘sitting by the fire and roasting marshmallows’ and holding family celebrations.
In his opening statement, Baumgartner’s lawyer John Rydell referenced the eye watering sums involved – telling court Costner rakes in more than $1.4m per month.
During his deposition two weeks ago, the Dances with Wolves star put his monthly living expenses at $240,000 but wants to pay his ex no more than $60,000 per month.
Rydell also spoke of the family’s lavish lifestyle when in Aspen, Colorado – describing how the ranch has sledding trails that light up at night and have music piped through the trees, as well as multiple canoes and fishing lakes.
According to Rydell, the property is currently being rented out for an eye-watering $50,000 per day.