Kevin Costner Speaks Out on “Yellowstone” Drama: 'I Have Taken a Beating from Those F---ing Guys'

"I made Yellowstone the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong," Costner said of rumors that he didn't want to work on season 5

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Kevin Costner attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala on Feb. 4, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Kevin Costner attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala on Feb. 4, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California
  • Yellowstone's leading man Kevin Costner, who left the show in 2023 over pay negotiations and creative disputes, addresses the reasons for his departure.

  • Costner attributed his exit to unfinished scripts and a lack of communication that led to production delays.

  • He remains open to returning to the show, whether to wrap it up or continue for more seasons.

Kevin Costner is finally addressing the drama surrounding his pending exit from Yellowstone.

In a May 14 interview with Deadline, the actor, 69, said that the story of Yellowstone being a subordinate priority to his other projects “wasn’t truthful.” He explained that he had drawn up contracts for three more seasons, but the show decided to redo the contracts after splitting season 5 into two parts with the potential of a sixth.

His upcoming Western epic, Horizon: An American Saga, was set to be shot between filming Yellowstone, but Costner said the gaps between production on the Paramount Network show kept moving.

“I don’t want to get down in the gutter with the Yellowstone thing but what I’m telling you is straight up. I have taken a beating from those f---ing guys and I know a lot of times where it’s coming from. I just elected not to get into that,” Costner told the outlet of his relative silence on the topic. “I made Yellowstone the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong.”

<p>Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Kevin Costner as John Dutton in 'Yellowstone'


Kevin Costner as John Dutton in 'Yellowstone'

Although Costner did not single out anyone by name, he added that he “didn’t know why they didn’t stick up” for him amid the rumors of behind-the-scenes tension.

He called the allegations that he wasn’t on set regularly enough “bulls---,” stating that he “lived up to” the terms of his contract at the time. The star revealed that he had left the set of Horizon to film what he believed would be the second half of season 5, but the session turned out to be to finish out the initial eight episodes.

Related: 'Yellowstone' Creator Is 'Disappointed' by Kevin Costner's Exit but Won't Resort to 'F--- You' Death for John

“What you read in the end was that I said, ‘Well, look, I’m doing my movie. If you want me to work a week because you want to kill me or whatever else, I can give you a week,” the Academy Award winner explained. Although he “really didn’t have that week to give them,” he still offered up his time, only for sources from Yellowstone to allege that he “only wanted to work a week.”

“Do you think that’s who I am? I’ve never missed a day of work. I’ve never left before fulfilling my contractual obligations. A lot of times, I stay as much as I can,” the Hidden Figures star said.

<p>Paramount; Presley Ann/Getty</p> (L-R) Kevin Costner and 'Yellowstone' showrunner Taylor Sheridan

Paramount; Presley Ann/Getty

(L-R) Kevin Costner and 'Yellowstone' showrunner Taylor Sheridan

The entire ordeal, according to Costner, can be boiled down to scheduling conflicts and unfinished scripts that “shut down one whole season.”

“Didn’t tell anybody and I didn’t work for 14 months,” he said. “I said, ‘I can’t ever go through that again, where you shut down for over a year and I don’t have something in line to do.’ All I did was protect myself, but I didn’t put myself in first position, over Yellowstone. I filled the gaps.”

A February 2023 Deadline report detailed the show’s on-set drama, which allegedly stemmed from Costner’s divided attention between Yellowstone and Horizon. A source told the publication that it has been a “source of frustration for [creator Taylor] Sheridan” and caused “morale problems” for his costars.

Costner stated that he was “straight up” and tried to hash out the issues with Sheridan, 53, but what was communicated to him did not pan out.

“I believed him and we didn’t get there,” the Emmy winner said of his negotiations with the showrunner.

Kevin Lynch for Paramount Network Kevin Costner as John Dutton in 'Yellowstone'
Kevin Lynch for Paramount Network Kevin Costner as John Dutton in 'Yellowstone'

Despite the tumultuous relationship between Costner and the show, he expressed openness to returning in the future. As of his current status regarding Yellowstone, he hasn't seen any of the final scripts and is "not involved in any of that stuff."

“If they’ve got so many other things going on, maybe this circles back and it’s a really cool two seasons. Or end it, if the writing’s there and I’m happy with it. I’m open to that,” he said while stipulating that he was “not happy” that the Yellowstone crew didn’t push back against the “crazy stories” that came out over the last year and a half.

PEOPLE has reached out to Paramount Network for comment.

The film producer has previously affirmed his willingness to patch up his relationship with Yellowstone to return as patriarch John Dutton.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said of Sheridan: “He likes a lot of the things that I like, and the idea of us working together is not out of the question for me.”

At the end of the day, however, their future collaboration will be “a Taylor question.”

Related: The Dutton Family Tree: All About the Characters From '1883' to 'Yellowstone'

The Yellowstone universe is set to expand significantly in the next couple of years, with spinoffs 1883 and 1923 already released and two more series on the horizon. One of the shows, a sequel starrin Matthew McConaughey and debut on Paramount+ in December 2024.

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Yellowstone is streaming in full on Peacock. 

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