Kevin Costner: Gone to the Dogs; with a Turbulent Lovelife and a Career in Freefall, Kev's Been Keeping a Low Profile - until Elaine Lipworth Popped to His House for a Chin wag.(Features)
Byline: Elaine Lipworth
Kevin Costner has just invited me into his bedroom. `Come in,' he calls. I hesitate and peep my head round the door to see him lounging on a huge mahogany bed, a stunning girl beside him. He beckons me to sit down and, sensing my obvious embarrassment says, `This is Annie, my daughter.' The proud dad puts his arm around the 17-year-old and gives her a peck on the cheek. She giggles and says hello. His face breaks into a smile, blue-green eyes twinkling mischievously.
I'm spending the day at Kevin's Spanish villa in the Hollywood Hills. He tells me to make myself at home as we walk through the zen-like house which is full of light, the white walls framed by dark wood, modern art on the walls and a stainless steel and granite kitchen. It's simple, stylish and tasteful - quite a different story from most of the ostentatious celebrity houses in LA.
We go outside and sit down to chat in the shaded poolside pagoda. `This is it - home,' says Kevin bending over to wrestle Wyatt, one of his three golden labradors. `Go get her,' he instructs in a low, growly voice, and Wyatt obligingly chases the elderly, arthritic Rose, while a third labrador, the spritely Jewel, jumps into the pool, soaking us both.
At 47, Kevin still has the disarming smile that helped turn him into one of Hollywood's hottest properties in the 80s. Despite the receding hairline and greying hair (he hasn't succumbed to the temptation of Grecian 2000) he's still attractive. If anything, ageing suits him. Most movie stars demand a make-up artist for their photos, but Kevin is one of the rare exceptions. In fact, he's remarkably open given his past experiences with the press - who have attacked his movies and accused him of everything from womanising to being a control freak.
As he relaxes more during the day he discusses everything from career failures to relationship traumas.
Kevin admits he's been lucky in life - he also admits he's been feeling emotional lately after splitting up with his girlfriend, Christine Baumgartner. They'd been together for two years, and it was the actor's first serious relationship since his 16-year marriage to college sweetheart Cindy Silva crumbled in 1994. `We're not seeing each other right now,' says Kevin as he plays with the dogs - who constantly
compete for his attention. He won't say who initiated the break-up, but it's obviously still a painful subject for Kevin, who confesses it was the first time he'd been in love since his marriage ended. `When I was with her it was a real good feeling - and I wasn't sure I could have that again. I'd like another relationship, of course,' he adds. `I believe in partnership. I think just because the convention of marriage hasn't worked as well as it could for a lot of people, that doesn't mean you should junk it.'
He says it's too soon to start dating but there'll certainly be no shortage of ladies who won't mind waiting - he's intelligent and still looks fit in his jeans, black polo shirt, white T-shirt and cowboy boots. He also knows how to get a girl eating out of his hand as every now and then he touches my shoulder. Sigh.
But, if his personal life has suffered a setback, at least he's back on form with his latest film Dragonfly - a spooky, supernatural love story that deals with near-death experiences. Kevin plays a doctor who's contacted by his dead wife - obviously back in his role as the steady hero who won over audiences in Dances With Wolves and The Bodyguard.
`My character's not cynical, but he has a certain amount of scepticism about what happens when you lose someone. But I really hope there is life after death,' he goes on. `I'd like to continue to talk with the people who've affected me in my life, the people that I've loved.' He'd also like to compare notes with his idols. Before he'd started acting, Kevin was on a plane when he met Hollywood legend Richard Burton. …