Kevin Costner made headlines today, May 3, when it was announced he will be divorcing his wife of 18 years Christine Baumgartner as well as departing his hit show "Yellowstone." Here, we look at the famous actor's Irish roots.
Costner's ancestors hailed from Co Kilkenny in the southeast of Ireland. His great-grandfather Michael Costner was born in the village of Graiguenamanagh in Co Kilkenny in 1855.
At the time, Ireland was in the grip of the Great Famine, a devastating period of widespread hunger and disease that lasted from 1845 to 1852. Like many Irish people of the time, Michael Costner saw little hope for his future in Ireland and decided to emigrate to the United States in search of a better life.
Michael Costner settled in California, where he married and raised a family. His son, William Costner, was Kevin Costner's grandfather, and it was he who instilled in Kevin a love for his Irish heritage. William Costner was a successful businessman in California, but he maintained strong connections to his ancestral home in Ireland throughout his life. He even visited Ireland on several occasions, and he passed on his love for the country and its people to his grandson Kevin.
(Interestingly, a story similar to Costner's great-grandfather's emigration from Ireland is reflected in "1923," the prequel to his hit show "Yellowstone.")
Kevin Costner has visited Ireland himself on several occasions, and he has spoken publicly about his love for the country. In an interview with The Irish Times in 2016, he said: "I have a lot of friends in Ireland, and I feel a connection to the people and the landscape.
"I love the way the country has preserved its history and traditions, and I always feel at home when I'm there."
During his visits to Ireland, Costner has enjoyed exploring the country's rich history and culture. He has visited many of Ireland's historic sites, such as the ancient monastery at Glendalough in Co Wicklow and the Rock of Cashel in Co Tipperary.
Costner retains a keen interest in Irish history and even stayed in West Cork for a period researching the life of Michael Collins for a potential film project, with a script written by Eoghan Harris.
"I wanted to make the Michael Collins story, I still do," Costner told Joe.ie in 2020.
"I know it was made by another director (Neil Jordan) but that's not the story I was going to make.
"I love the epic notion of Michael Collins. I'd still like to make that movie someday. I found him to be an incredible person that was compromised by politics. His story is coming up more and more now. He was a dynamic person that was caught in politics.
"For me, Michael Collins is a large reason why I lived in Ireland."
Costner said that Eoghan Harris’ script resembled David Lean's epic drama "Lawrence Of Arabia" in its scope.
"There was a final line in the script that said 'God Ireland, I love you' and that was his final line in it. While it's a fictitious line in the movie, I think it encapsulated who he was. That always affected me. I thought the script from Eoghan Harris was just superior. It was an epic. It was like a real Lawrence Of Arabia look at Collins."