Christine Costner (née Baumgartner) has been in a relationship “since she split” from Kevin Costner, per two exclusive sources
Financier Josh Connor, a friend and former neighbor to the now-divorced couple, is dating Christine, 49, “since she split from Kevin,” a friend of Christine's tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“Josh was initially just a friend,” adds the insider.
Christine “likes hanging out with him,” the friend says of Connor. “He is a divorced dad and understands what she’s been going through. They both love the ocean and beach life. It’s something that makes Christine happy.”
During child support hearings in August 2023, Christine's attorney John Rydell denied rumors of a romance between the two. He stated at the time that Connor was merely a friend amid her divorce from Kevin, 68, and "nothing more than that."
Christine filed for divorce from Kevin in May after 18 years of marriage. Following months of legal back and forth, the exes settled the divorce in September, coming to “an amicable and mutually agreed upon resolution of all issues pertaining to their divorce proceedings," per a rep’s joint statement for the duo.
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Now, another source in the Costners' circle tells PEOPLE that Christine and Connor “are dating, although they had a strong friendship before that.” Because Christine and Connor are in the “same place in their lives,” adds the source, the romance could blossom. “They are having a lot of fun together.”
On Friday, Christine dropped off Connor at his Montecito, California home, as revealed in photos obtained by the Daily Mail. In the images, Connor appeared to be pulling a suitcase as he walked away from her vehicle.
Connor has also been spotted on getaways with Christine in prior months. In July, the two were spotted together at a villa in Hualalai, Hawaii, in photos first published by TMZ. Joining them for time on the beach were her kids. (Christine and Kevin share Cayden, 16, Hayes, 14, and Grace, 13.)
In August, Rydell had stated in court that Connor lent Christine $20,000 when she appeared to be in "distress." The Hawaii trip, Christine testified on the stand, was funded by Connor for “everyone.”
Kevin’s ex also said on the stand that she slept in the same room as another friend on the trip and not with Connor. She answered "no" when asked at the time whether Connor was her boyfriend.
Soon after settling his contentious divorce, Kevin was "relieved that this matter has been settled and will continue to focus solely on jointly raising their three children,” a source told PEOPLE at the time.
The Oscar winner was set to appear in court again in November to hash out the validity of their premarital agreement, but reached a settlement instead.
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