EXCLUSIVE: Christine Baumgartner had ‘no choice but to settle’ divorce with Kevin Costner because he had ‘all the power,’ as she’s seen for the first time after prenup is enforced
Christine Baumgartner has been seen for the first time since officially closing the book on her marriage to Kevin Costner in a shock settlement.
DailyMail.com spotted the mom-of-three Tuesday morning casually dressed in black leggings, sneakers and a green top grabbing salsa from Vons supermarket near her $40k-per-month Montecito rental.
Her outing came just after the surprise news that the couple settled their divorce with the prenup enforced and a large monetary penalty should it be challenged.
A friend of Christine now tells DailyMail.com, ‘Christine didn’t really have a choice but to settle because Kevin had all the power. Had she continued fighting, she would risk losing everything.
‘Christine said it is what it is. That she won’t miss going to court and having sleepless nights. She said for the kids it’s a win because no child wants to go thru this, let alone in public.
‘She was the one who wanted to settle things outside of court in the first place. She never wanted any of this circus. It’s been a living nightmare and now she just wants to move on and start fresh and begin making her new house a home.’
DailyMail.com spotted Christine Tuesday morning picking up $6.99 Casa Sanchez medium salsa containers at Vons supermarket
Christine was seen briefly leaving the store with her salsa in hand dressed in black leggings, sneakers and green top as she stepped out near her $40k per month Montecito rental
Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner’s bitter divorce was settled with the prenup enforced and a massive monetary penalty if it is challenged
A friend of Christine tells DailyMail.com, ‘Christine said she didn’t really have a choice but to settle because Kevin had all the power’
The 68-year-old actor and his 49-year-old wife of nearly 20 years have been embroiled in a months-long legal war which has met a surprise end after it was reported that Baumgartner had received more than $400,000 to pay the costs of the contentious courtroom battle.
A joint statement from Costner and Baumgartner provided to DailyMail.com read: ‘Kevin and Christine Costner have come to an amicable and mutually agreed upon resolution of all issues pertaining to their divorce proceedings.’
Kevin seemingly responded to the settlement being signed over the weekend as he shared a throwback photo of himself looking into the distance from 1999 flick Message In A Bottle with the caption: ‘Happy Monday, friends. Wishing health and happiness for all of you’
According to TMZ, if Christine challenges the judgment ‘she would have to repay Kevin more than $1 million and pay his attorney’s fees for the prenup fight.’
Upon hearing this, the mother-of-three ‘agreed over the weekend to the terms of a 3-page settlement letter.’
Although the prenup is enforceable, Christine got more than what was prescribed in the agreement.
Kevin’s legal team – which was headed by ‘disso queen’ Laura Wasser – had won a series of legal battles leading up to the settlement.
Wasser had recently submitted paperwork to the court saying Kevin’s monthly obligation should be $63K-a-month according to the publication.
However, Baumgartner wanted $248K-a-month and after a two-day evidentiary hearing in Santa Barbara earlier this month the Judge Thomas Anderle ultimately sided with Kevin.
Kevin seemingly responded to the settlement being signed over the weekend as he shared a throwback photo of himself looking into the distance from his 1999 classic romantic drama film Message In A Bottle with the caption: ‘Happy Monday, friends. Wishing health and happiness for all of you.’
Last week DailyMail.com reported that Baumgartner had already received more than $400,000 to pay the costs of her legal battle with the actor.
The mom-of-three was locked in a court fight with her ex over a fresh award of $855,000 to cover fees for the former couple’s upcoming trial over whether the prenuptial agreement they signed 18 years ago can still be enforced.
Baumgartner, 49, had asked for $575,000 to pay her lawyers John Rydell and Susan Wiesner and another $280,000 for her forensic accountant Jill Bombino – which would take the combined total to an eye-watering total of $1.26million.
But documents obtained by DailyMail.com reveal Baumgartner has so far already received $405,000 in legal, attorney, and ‘forensic accounting fees’ – disbursed in July this year.
In an excoriating legal filing lodged in court in Santa Barbara, California, on Tuesday, Wasser hit back at the ‘whopping’ request – describing the fees as ‘inflated’ and saying that it would be ‘unconscionable’ for the Yellowstone star to be made to pay.
‘Disso queen’ Wasser also accused Baumgartner of being ‘unreasonable’ and said her constant legal maneuvers – the majority of which have failed – had inflated costs for both parties.
Costner’s attorney Laura Wasser – seen arriving at court with the actor earlier this month – hit back at the request – describing the fees as ‘inflated’ and ‘outrageous’
In an excoriating legal filing lodged in court in Santa Barbara, California, Costner’s attorney Laura Wasser hit back at the ‘whopping’ request
Last week, Baumgartner found herself on the hook for a payment of $14,000 after Judge Thomas Anderle decided to sanction her for failing to give proper answers to questions from Costner’s legal team.
The setback came shortly after Judge Anderle halved Baumgartner’s monthly child support payments – a decision she later described as a ‘joke’ according to a pal.
The friend told DailyMail.com: ‘Christine is shocked. She said even Kevin looked shocked. Everyone looked shocked.
‘To say Christine is disappointed is an understatement. She described the ruling is a complete joke.’
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Brett Ward, a partner at New York legal firm Blank Rome and an expert in family law, said a party requesting fees isn’t unusual, although the potential size of the award was.
He also said judges tend to take a dim view of what they see as excessive requests and generally want to prevent drawn out cases like the Costner divorce was becoming.
He said: ‘There is certainly a legal basis for [Baumgartner’s] request. However, a judge will examine the reasonableness of the fees requested.
‘Judges generally do not want to encourage additional litigation by providing one side with a war chest of future legal fees.
The mom-of-three had been enjoying a temporary monthly payment of $129,000 and had wanted it bumped to $161,000
In July Baumgartner was court-ordered to vacate the former couple’s $145million lavish California mansion
DailyMail.com previously revealed that Baumgartner, 49, moved into the luxury four-bedroom home after a judge in Santa Barbara, California, slashed her child support payments
‘Courts generally balance the less wealthy party’s right to carry on the litigation in a fair manner against the concern that a party with a significant fee award will take that money and use it to make every possible argument available, no matter the merit or lack thereof for each claim.’
Ward said the enormous legal bills the pair were racking up were unusual in family court but added that much of the money can be explained by the value of the assets being wrangled over and expected the eventual tab to be much higher.
He said: ‘At this pace, and without a settlement in the near future, I would not be surprised if the combined legal fees approach or exceed $5 million.’
Much of Baumgartner’s testimony during the evidentiary hearing had hinged on her being able to provide a lavish lifestyle for her three children comparable to the one they enjoy while with their father.
Despite renting a $40,000-a-month property in tony Montecito, Baumgartner said her new home is inadequate because sons Cayden, 16, and Hayes, 14, would have to share a bathroom while daughter Grace, 13, would need ‘to share hers with the house.’