The neo-Western series Yellowstone, which is directed by Taylor Sheridan, is about as dramatic as it gets, both on and off the screen for the audience. Yellowstone follows the Dutton family, a multigenerational ranching family that is doing its best to preserve their way of life despite the fact that they are constantly engaged in conflict with property developers, Native American reservations, and even their own flesh and blood. Yellowstone is set in rural Montana. Since it first aired in 2018, the show has been a huge success for Paramount Network, receiving a considerable amount of critical acclaim and a dedicated following of viewers. But the drama that has been going on behind the scenes has been just as fierce.
The future of the show has been altered as a result of feuds, various legal fights, and dramatic exits. In February of 2023, rumors began to circulate that Kevin Costner, who portrays the role of Yellowstone patriarch John Dutton, was going to leave the show in order to concentrate on his multi-part Western movie project Horizon: An American Saga.The actor’s limited shooting schedule and divided attention were reportedly “a source of frustration” for Sheridan, according to a report from Deadline. The announcement that the second half of the fifth season would be the final episode of the show was made by the network after the two parties were unable to come to an agreement with each other. In November of 2024, it is slated to make its debut, and then it will be followed by two spinoff series.
Not only does Costner compete head-to-head with Sheridan, but other cast members do as well. On November 21, Bosque Ranch, the coffee firm owned by Sheridan, filed a lawsuit against Free Rein, the coffee company owned by Yellowstone star Cole Hauser, alleging that Free Rein had violated Sheridan’s trademark, engaged in unfair competition, and engaged in deceptive advertising. The lawsuit asserts that the emblem employed by Free Rein is “confusingly similar” to the brand utilized by Bosque Ranch.There is more drama to come after that. These are the most significant controversies that have occurred behind the scenes in the Yellowstone franchise, and here is a summary of them.
Costner left the series due to “issues” with the creative process.
It was in May of 2023 when the first rumors of Costner’s departure from Yellowstone were brought to light. After the conclusion of the fifth season, there were rumors that he would not return, and that Matthew McConaughey would take over as the lead actor. According to Puck News, the actor’s extensive list of requests included the right to have a say in the writing of scripts, a reduction in the number of days he was required to film, and a greater remuneration. Costner and Sheridan both maintained their silence during the talks that halted filming until the network made the announcement that the series would be coming to an end.
The actor has only ever made a public declaration about leaving the program once, and that was in 2023, when he was testifying in court for child support. As stated in his testimony, Costner expressed his desire to return for a sixth season, but he ultimately decided against doing so because the amount of compensation was lower than what he had earned in previous seasons. In addition, he mentioned creative challenges as a factor that contributed to his decision. Sheridan could not address any reports that are circulating about difficulties behind the scenes; however, he did express his gratitude to Costner for his “symbolic and powerful” portrayal as John Dutton.
In June of 2023, Sheridan expressed her dissatisfaction when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter. “It completely obliterates the conclusion of his character. Despite the fact that it does not change anything, it shortens it.
In November of 2023, Sheridan filed a lawsuit against Hauser’s coffee company.Sheridan’s coffee company, Bosque Ranch, filed a lawsuit against Hauser’s coffee firm, Free Rein, in the Northern District of Texas in November 2023, alleging that Hauser’s company had violated Sheridan’s trademark, engaged in unfair competition, and engaged in false advertising. Due to the fact that both businesses use identifying marks that consist of two letters that overlap one another, the complaint asserts that the similarities in logos could cause confusion among customers.
According to the allegations made in the case, “Neither Hauser nor the Defendants asked or received permission or authorization from Sheridan or Bosque Ranch to use a mark confusingly similar to the BR Brand for virtually identical goods.”
An ex-wife of Kevin Costner has stated that she “did not pressure” him to leave the show.
In May of 2023, PEOPLE announced that Christine Baumgartner, who had been married to Costner for 18 years, had submitted a petition for divorce. Baumgartner asserted in court records that she never put any pressure on Costner to leave the show, despite the fact that the date was so close to the announcement that he would be leaving Yellowstone.
Cayden, Hayes, and Grace were the three children that the couple had together after they tied the knot in September of 2004. Additionally, Costner is a father to Annie, Lily, Joe, and Liam, all of whom he had in marriages and relationships in the past. The couple finally reached a divorce settlement in September 2023, following a legal struggle that lasted for several months.
At the very last minute, nearly all of Yellowstone’s most prominent stars decided to withdraw from a PaleyFest event.
It was planned that Sheridan and the other stars of the series, such as Costner, Hauser, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Gil Birmingham, and Jacki Weaver, would be present at a PaleyFest panel in Hollywood in the month of April 2023. On the other hand, when the day arrived, every single member of the original lineup decided to withdraw from the production. In their stead, cast members from Yellowstone consisting of Josh Lucas, Dawn Olivieri, Wendy Moniz, and Mo Brings Plenty were cast.
The change in the panel that was made at the very last minute caused people who had paid for tickets to become unsatisfied. Reilly, who plays Beth Dutton on the show, reacted to a fan’s concern on Instagram by stating that she informed the event’s organizers in January that she would not be able to attend the event. There was not a single member of the cast who provided an explanation for their absences whatsoever.
Charges of disability fraud have been brought against Q’orianka Kilcher.
In July of 2022, Q’orianka Kilcher, who portrays the role of Angela Blue Thunder on the show, was charged with two felony counts of receiving fraudulent pay from workers’ compensation insurance. Due to the fact that she had informed her physician that she was unable to work due to her injury, the California Department of Insurance asserted that she had violated state law by receiving disability benefits totaling $96,838 while she was simultaneously working on Yellowstone. According to reports, Kilcher had injuries to her neck and right shoulder while she was working on the set of the film Dora and the Lost City of Gold, which was released in 2019.
According to reports, the actress was taken aback by the allegations, and she steadfastly adhered to her position of innocence throughout the investigation. The termination of her case occurred in February of 2023.
The ancestry of Asbille has been called into question.
The New York Times published an article in 2017 that discussed the impending drama film Wind River and focused on the dearth of Native American actors who were cast in roles that belonged to Native Americans. The article emphasized Asbille, who played a Native American woman in the film (and currently portrays Monica Dutton, a Native American woman, in Yellowstone), and identified her as a descendant of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In addition, the narrative mentioned that Asbille is currently playing Monica Dutton.
BuzzFeed News said that after the article was published, actor Sonny Skyhawk contacted the state’s Tribal Enrollment Office to inquire about the recruitment process. According to the letter that was returned by the office, the Cherokee tribe did not have any records of Asbille and there was no evidence that she was a Cherokee descendant. The allegations have not been addressed by the actress as of yet.
According to reports, Grimes left True Blood because he did not want to play a character that identified as LGBTQ.
Prior to his role as Kayce Dutton, Grimes appeared on the HBO series True Blood as a vampire by the name of James. On the other hand, he left the show before the conclusion of the season, and his character was recast. HBO issued a statement saying, “The role of James is being recast due to the creative direction of the character,” as reported by Entertainment Tonight.
In a 2014 interview with Vulture, Nelsan Ellis, who portrayed Lafayette, the character who would eventually become James’ love interest, claimed that Grimes departed the show because their characters were moving toward a romantic relationship.
“We’re all sitting there going, ‘You quit your job because … really?'” According to Ellis. I mean, I’m just… I’m done with him. Do you resign from your position because you do not wish to portray a gay character? In the same way as… Do you know what? It’s time for me to put something down. According to a statement released by Grimes’ representative, the reason for his departure from the show was “scheduling conflicts.”