CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles on lives of Lisa Marie Presley, Kevin Costner
Aired August 16, 2003 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she grew up in the shadow of her legendary father.
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LISA MARIE PRESLEY, MUSICIAN: I never spoke, you know? I didn't talk for 34 years.
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ANNOUNCER: A celebrity from the time she was born. Her world was shattered after Elvis' death.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She pretty much got (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of her father and being taken out of the house and the hours.
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ANNOUNCER: She rebelled in her teens and shocked the world with her second marriage.
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CYNTHIA SANZ, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Even after it was confirmed that Lisa Marie had married Michael Jackson, I think people really didn't believed it.
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ANNOUNCER: Now, she's following in her dad's footsteps and taking her own place in the spotlight -- inside the world of Lisa Marie Presley.
Then, Kevin Costner is back in the saddle and gunning for a hit.
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KEVIN COSTNER, ACTOR: My ego would like to have box office but it doesn't define me.
I said I'm fine.
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ANNOUNCER: With a new film, a new love and no apologies, Costner gets candid about the movies and his misfires.
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COSTNER: I think that it's up to people to judge what I have done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin, straight ahead.
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ANNOUNCER: And his upcoming marriage.
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COSTNER: Feelings are important and you don't want to say to eight different people that you love them.
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ANNOUNCER: From Hollywood glory to comeback kid, a look at Kevin Costner. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAUL ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Lisa Marie Presley, you know the name, you certainly know her father and you're probably familiar with at least a few of her more soap opera moments, Michael Jackson, Nicholas Cage. But do you know of Presley's life beyond the tabloid rumors, beyond the enormous legacy of The King? Well, as we remember Elvis this weekend, on the 26th anniversary of his death, a look at his only daughter who's now making music on her own. Kyra Phillips has our profile.
ELVIS PRESLEY, MUSICIAN/ACTOR: Rock 'n Roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move. That's what happens to me. That's what happens.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a curl of the lip and a twitch of the hip, Lisa Marie Presley has finally entered the building.
JOE LEVY, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": DNA rules apply. And, it's undeniable when you look at her perform or listen to her sing.
PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: It's Elvis' face on that body.
LEVY: Her eyes and her mouth are him.
CASTRO: It's the oddest thing.
PHILLIPS: Famous since the moment she was born, for 35 years, we watched, we read, we thought we knew everything there was to know about Elvis Presley's only child. LEVY: The first thing people think about when they -- you mention Lisa Marie is she's Elvis' daughter. The second thing they say is that she was married to Michael Jackson. That was weird.
PHILLIPS: This past April, rock's royal offspring decided it was now or never, and with feet planted firmly in the Rock 'n Roll roots, she released her first album, "To Whom It May Concern." With its arrival, Lisa Marie Presley, billboard (UNINTELLIGIBLE), claimed the spotlight for the first time on her own.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: I never spoke, you know. I didn't talk for 34 years. I mean, a couple times, but it wasn't like I was out there so they sort of had the opportunity to develop an image for me. It wasn't me. So that's sort of what I've been realizing more and more when I speak to people, when they talk to me. When I do interviews, they're like wow, Lisa, you know, it's not like that.
PHILLIPS: Debuting at No. 5 and selling 600,000 to date, the album has pleasantly surprised suspicious minds. And with scorchingly honest content, the 11-track, self 10-disc provides a rare snapshot of Memphis, her father and the men she's loved and lost.
LEVY: What she's saying is, "Look, I've been an object of public speculation since I was born. Maybe you think you know me. This is who I am. Whoever you are, if you're concerned, come on in."
PHILLIPS: To know who she is, we open in Las Vegas. The date, May 1, 1967. The state of the world? A buzz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elvis Presley weds Priscilla Anne Beaulieu and one of America's richest teenage singing idols promises to love, honor, and obey. Why did The Pelvis desert bachelorhood? He said he -- it's about time.
PHILLIPS: And exactly nine months to the day, on February 1, 1968, at the Baptist Hospital in Memphis, the king's daughter was born.
MICHELLE HOVEY, AUNT: She was the first grandchild, and of course, Elvis was the typical father. You know, just doting and excited and showing her off.
PHILLIPS: With iconic parents she began her life behind the famed walls of Graceland. The Presleys lifestyle was extravagant and Elvis spared no expense on the little heiress.
CASTRO: Elvis adored Lisa Marie and lived for her. I mean he would such sweet things.
SANZ: You know she would show up in diamonds and mink coats. Her father flew her to Idaho once so she could see snow.
M. HOVEY: Going to Vegas, you know, having, like, a little slot machine in the hotel room and even room service. Staying in a hotel and having room service could be a lot of fun when you were with Elvis Presley. PHILLIPS: Not surprising, she loved to watch her daddy perform.
PRESLEY: Now, show my little daughter. Lisa, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) jump up.
PHILLIPS: And he loved to listen to his little girl sing.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: He caught me, actually, one time during that -- through the crack of the door. I remember that I was so embarrassed. Oh God, I wanted to die. But yes, it was in his bathroom, with his mirror and his thing. And I was just singing, yes.
PHILLIPS: But by 1972, endless tours and his Rock 'n Roll lifestyle had gotten in the way of marriage. Following a yearlong separation and a torrent of media speculation, Priscilla filed for divorce. In the coming years, a nomadic Lisa Marie would split her time between Beverly Hills and her father's beloved Memphis.
L. MARIE PRESELY: You know, mostly it was breaks. It was very inconsistent. Sometimes a car would show up to pick me up at school and I wasn't ready for it because he just sent for me.
PHILLIPS: As time went by, returning to California became increasingly difficult.
CASTRO: Well, you know, Elvis and Priscilla were two very different types of parents. Elvis was, you know, laissez-faire, hey, baby, go have a good time. And Priscilla was really like the commandant.
M. HOVEY: Unfortunately, Priscilla had to be the bad guy for quite a few years, but somebody had to be. It surely wasn't going to be Elvis.
PHILLIPS: And it certainly wasn't going to be Elvis' new girlfriend, Linda Thompson. Befriending the youngster, their friendship would span some 30 years.
LINDA THOMPSON, ELVIS' FORMER GIRLFRIEND: I met Lisa when she was four-and-a-half. I never had a problem with Lisa, never, like, you know, you're not my mom, I don't have to do what you say. You know, I kind of played along with her because I was kind of a kid, too.
M. HOVEY: It was carte blanche. She could go and drive a little Go-cart. She could eat when she wanted to. She went to sleep when she wanted to sleep. Her father would sometimes call and say, "Make sure Lisa does this. Make sure she brushes her teeth. Would you tell Elvis to call me when he wakes up."
PHILLIPS: Sleep all day, party all night. By 1976, those were the rules of Graceland. And as tabloids followed his every move, and paparazzi sprung from every corner, the 8-year-old watched quietly as her father's health declined. Often she sat outside The King's bedroom door, pouring thoughts into journals, scribbling poems onto scraps of paper, waiting for Elvis to stir. M. HOVEY: Lisa was always writing, always writing. They were so deep for such a young child. The things that she wrote, you could tell that she kind of thought things differently.
PHILLIPS: Coming up, lights out -- a grim discovery on August 16, 1977.
THOMPSON: This little 9-year-old girl called me long distance, and, you know, in a breathless tone, told me that she had just found out that her father died.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
SANZ: Lisa Marie has grown up hearing stories about her father. I mean she couldn't escape it even as a kid. You know, there were always sort of the tabloid reports about his wild life and his eating and the drugs. And, you know, I think one of the songs on her album, she really uses to sort of say, "If everybody saw this, you know, why didn't everyone say it because nobody noticed."
LEVY: Elvis was there first and he paid the price for it. He lived in the end a very lonely, isolated life cut off from the world by his fame, by all accounts. He was a person who wanted a more simple kind of life than that. It's not what the world and his talent gave him.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): By 1977, 9-year-old Lisa Marie Presley was living two lives, one of discipline in the mother's California, one of indulgence in the father's Tennessee. Increasingly, however, she was noticing a change in Elvis and, the Memphis fortress he had created.
CASTRO: You know, when they split up, everything went kind of wacky, especially at Graceland because that's when Elvis started really partying, and, you know; there were a whole bunch of girls over. She saw a lot of bad stuff and then saw a lot of fast living in that house as a little girl.
PHILLIPS: Under the watchful eye of her mother, Priscilla, visits became less frequent.
M. HOVEY: Priscilla knew what was going on as far as -- I mean, she lived that life as well. And so, for a little girl, she did have quite a few concerns.
PHILLIPS: Elvis' decline had been marked with ballooning weight and an addiction to prescription medication. But no one was prepared for what happened next. The date was August 16, 1977. The shocking news was broadcast around the world. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. Elvis Presley died today. He was 42. Apparently it was a heart attack. He was found at his home in Memphis, not breathing.
THOMPSON: This little 9-year-old girl called me long distance -- I was in Los Angeles -- and, you know, in a breathless tone, told me that she had just found out that her father died.
M. HOVEY: Lisa was there and saw all the commotion. And she pretty much got glimpses of her father, you know, being taken out of the house in the ambulance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't push or shove. Don't push or shove back here, please. Don't push or shove.
PHILLIPS: By the thousands, fans flocked to Graceland. And within 24 hours, the white mansion was open to the public as the king of Rock 'n Roll's body lay in state.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: There were so many masses of people mourning. I remember watching, you know, as the casket was there. They were coming through and there was a line, and I just remember sitting on the stairwell not knowing what to do with that.
PHILLIPS: The following day, on August 18, 1977, with media coverage by land and air, Elvis Aaron Presley was laid to rest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's the hearse carrying the body of Elvis Presley. He was such a powerhouse of movement on the stage and now, still by death, and leaves Graceland mansion for the last time.
PHILLIPS: In the coming years, The King's death would only deepen the mystery surrounding his only child. And as a nation mourned, and paparazzi swarmed, little Lisa Marie Presley rebelled.
CASTRO: She loses her father, her protector, her idol, her friend, and suddenly feels very much alone. Still has her mother, though, whom she loves very much, but her mother's very different.
THOMPSON: Yes, I think, you know, Priscilla is a very structured, military kind of oriented person. She's very guarded, very protective, and you know, Lisa's just kind of ahh!
SANZ: She had an impossible time controlling her. Lisa Marie wanted to act out. She was a rebel. She just wanted to do her own thing.
PHILLIPS: Somber and destructing, by 1981, an angry teenager had emerged. Music blasted from behind her locked bedroom door.
CASTRO: One way she rebelled against her mother was just to like blare the music. She loved Devo and Alice in Chains.
M. HOVEY: There was Pat Benatar. There was Elton John. There was, you know, Queen.
PHILLIPS: And there were drugs.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: I don't think that I was any different from anybody else growing up experiencing, experimenting, not feeling understood, angstful teenager, you know.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: What straightened you out?
L. MARIE PRESLEY: I kind of had enough at a certain point and just snapped out of it, was sick of it.
PHILLIPS: Priscilla's decade-long membership in the controversial Church of Scientology helped as well. It was here, in 1985, that she met Daniel Keo, a fledgling musician who had little interest in the Presley name.
THOMPSON: I think Danny has been her best friend since the day she met him, probably. He's really a kind and sensitive and sweet, tender person.
PHILLIPS: And on October 3, 1988, the media circled once again. The King's only child had wed in a small service at the Scientology Center. Eight months later, Danielle Riley Keo was born. With wild days behind her, Lisa Marie Presley, wife and now mother, began to think about the future.
THOMPSON: You know, Lisa was almost in a position of damned if you do, damned if don't. You know, there were so many expectations from her. You know, Elvis' only child. What's she going to do? So everybody's watching, waiting.
PHILLIPS: With the help of Keo, she took a deep breath, turned to music and recorded a demo.
GARY HOVEY, UNCLE: And she went to meet with record people with it, with a manager. And, the girl was just about set. She didn't do the deal because she became pregnant with Ben, her second child, so it all got put on hold. You know, a year or two later or whatever, she became interested in singing again which happened to coincide with the time she met up with Michael.
PHILLIPS: Coming up, rock's royal union -- the king of pop meets the king of rock 'n roll.
LEVY: She has said her motivation was that she was in love with him. And I know that she has publicly said that she can no longer guess as to what his motivations were.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'm very happy to introduce to you Lisa Presley Keo.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): By 1993, Lisa Marie Presley was 24, married to a fellow scientologist, Danny Keo, and a mother of two. Reclusive, musical aspirations were now on the back burner and public appearances rare.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: Thank you very much. I'm happy to be here.
PHILLIPS: But an important date fast approaching and with it, came an end to her self-imposed anonymity.
CASTRO: When she turned 25, she immediately became worth $100 million. I mean she inherited the Elvis trust.
PHILLIPS: With newfound pressures, her five-year marriage began to buckle. It was during this time that a fledgling friendship with a pop icon became to evolve. His name was Michael Jackson.
CASTRO: She was having trouble in her marriage, meets Michael as a platonic friend. Michael starts, you know, involving her more and more in his life. She, in her own words, makes the mistake of telling Michael, you know what, I'm having trouble in my marriage.
PHILLIPS: What came next shocked the world.
SANZ: Even after it was confirmed that Lisa Marie had married Michael Jackson, I think people really didn't believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you on sidewalk or behind the vehicle.
PHILLIPS: Crowds swarmed. Headlines screamed. Michael and Lisa Marie had secretly wed. Graceland meets Neverland and everyone was scratching their heads.
THOMPSON: The Michael Jackson thing was probably an ill-fated union from day one, but, you know, she tried.
G. HOVEY: Yes, she said she loved the guy and we said, that's fine as long as you're happy and safe is the only thing I really care about.
LEVY: You have to understand this marriage came about in the wake of the child abuse allegations that surfaced in Michael Jackson's world in 1994.
PHILLIPS: Allegations Jackson has always denied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jackson.
PHILLIPS: America got their first official peek at the 1994 MTV Music Awards.
MICHAEL JACKSON, FORMER HUSBAND: And just think, nobody thought this would last.
G. HOVEY: I mean please -- you know, who did that benefit? She didn't want to do it. I remember looking at it and it was -- you know, he got what he wanted.
PHILLIPS: Nine months later on June 14, 1995, 60 million people watched the infamous "Primetime Live" interview.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: And he said, "What would you do if I asked you to marry me?" And I said, "I would."
JACKSON: But I think I was -- you were more than enthusiastic.
PHILLIPS: And audiences were really skeptical. Was it love or a publicity stunt? No one knew. The next day, Jackson's album, "History," marched into stores. Eight months and one jaw dropping music video later, an announcement that took no one by surprise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the marriage destined for divorce from the very start?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What may be the real reason Lisa Marie Presley is divorcing Michael Jackson.
PHILLIPS: After 20 months of marriage, Elvis Presley's only child had filed for divorce.
G. HOVEY: I think he hooked up with somebody that he wasn't used to. I mean he's used to everything his way. She never really had to answer to too many people. And I don't think she was going to succumb to his whims.
PHILLIPS: Jackson did not respond to our request for comment.
In the coming years, Lisa Marie dealt inward, again, again, turning to music, but her recording debut was still years away. And in the year 2000, there was yet another high profile relationship. This time, with actor, Nicholas Cage.
CASTRO: When things were good, they were really good, as she said, and when they were bad, they were really, really bad.
PHILLIPS: Theirs was a tumultuous pairing from the get go. Dating on and off for two years, they married on August 10, 2002. Just three months later, Cage filed for divorce.
G. HOVEY: I think they should have dated, but you know, who am I? I'm just, you know, an uncle. But it was a wonderful wedding, though.
PHILLIPS: And in April 2003, with three husbands and 35 years behind her, Lisa Marie Presley finally faced her legacy, long-awaited, highly anticipated, aptly titled, "To Whom It May Concern."
ANDREW SLATER, PRESIDENT, CAPITOL RECORDS: "Lights Out" is a song in which Lisa addresses the issue that we're most interested in finding out about her.
LEVY: "Lights Out" is about dying. It's about knowing that there's a place for her in the Graceland cemetery next to her father. It's a song with a lot of darkness and longing in it.
PHILLIPS: Selling 600,000 to date, reviews have been mixed. But no one can deny after years of living in the shadow of her famous father, the king of rock 'n roll's daughter has finally come into her own.
THOMPSON: The beautiful thing about what Lisa has done is she has found her own niche. She has expressed herself solely and completely as an individual, and yet, there is this aura of the father surrounding her.
L. MARIE PRESLEY: I want to affect people as I've been affected to music. I just want my own fingerprint.
ZAHN: Lisa Marie's debut tour in support of her new album, "To Whom It May Concern," has been extended and will now run through October.
ANNOUNCER: Coming up, Kevin Costner rides the range, again. But can a western rescue this movie maverick's career?
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CASTRO: He's the underdog right now. You would never think that Kevin Costner would ever be an underdog.
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ANNOUNCER: Costner saddles up for a comeback when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
Kevin Costner has had his fair share of ups and downs in Hollywood, a career of extremes. In the late '80s, he was literally untouchable. More recently, however, the veteran actor has struggled. But if you think Costner is worried, think again. Sit down with him and you'll find he remains extremely upbeat, especially about his new movie, "Open Range." Here's Carol Costello.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember when Kevin Costner could do no wrong...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin! Kevin!
COSTELLO: ... that time, not long ago, when he was Hollywood's leader of the pack? From the late '80s to the early '90s the sexy leading man owned the box office. COSTNER: It's good to see you.
COSTELLO: Over a five-year stretch, his movies reportedly raked in more than $700 million in U.S. ticket sales.
COSTER: What came out of that? I didn't.
LEAH ROZEN, MOVIE CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: No one was bigger than Kevin Costner in the late '80s, early '90s. He had a string of such big hits that he was so good in and then it all sort of disappeared.
COSTELLO: In the 12 years since "Dances With Wolves" dominated the Oscars, Costner has had his share of high profile and costly disappointments, "Waterworld," "The Postman," "Dragonfly."
COSTNER: This isn't heaven. This is rainbows.
COSTELLO: But the 48-year-old star once hailed as the next Gary Cooper says he has no regrets.
COSTNER: I need to serve myself. I need to find a story because I still believe in the magic of the two hours when you sit in the dark and anything can happen. Movies should travel through time and they don't need to exist on one weekend.
COSTELLO: Still, Costner realizes the importance of having a box office hit.
COSTNER: It's very important to me, but it doesn't define me. It's really important because it would make my life easier. You know, my ego would like to have a box office. It really would. I'm not going to sit here and say that it wouldn't.
COSTELLO: And so Kevin Costner is back in the saddle, back on camera and behind it. "Open Range" marks Costner's return to the epic western but can the new movie revive his lagging career?
CASTRO: Kevin Costner right now is a guy who is trying to come back.
COSTNER: Well, what do you want me to tell her, boss?
CASTRO: I think that he's hoping that "Open Range" is his lucky film. You know, it has all the earmarks of a good movie.
ROBERT DUVALL, ACTOR: This may be the last time she sees you in this world, John, or you her.
COSTELLO: "Open Range" is in many ways a classic tale of good versus evil of steadfast cowboys and corrupt kingpins.
COSTNER: The whole town knows there's a fight coming. I just hope it don't spill over to them.
COSTELLO: The west and the western have been a big part of Kevin Costner's life right from the beginning.
TIM HOCTOR, FRIEND: He would watch a western and then want to build his own canoe and just get a tree and try and build a canoe like the Indians built it. And his dog got so scared of him because he'd always tie it to his dog, you know, and thinking it was a buffalo or something.
COSTELLO: Kevin Costner was born in Los Angeles on January 18, 1955.
COSTNER: I had what I considered a wonderful life. I realize now looking around that we were not -- we didn't have a tremendous amount of money but we weren't poor.
COSTELLO: Costner's father, Bill, worked for Southern California Edison.
COSTNER: My life seemed great. My parents were at all my games and all the things that I participated in. I could look up and see them and so I kind of think I had what -- you know it was a little bit of a Huckleberry Fin life for me in a way for me. I mean they were vested in my life.
COSTELLO: But Bill Costner's job kept the family on the move as California Edison transferred him from one job to another. As a teenager, Kevin attended four high schools in four years.
COSTNER: In my high schools, I tried to not let it affect me. But when I look back in my life, it did. It was much harder than I let on.
COSTELLO: The shy teenager says he only had one date in high school. Always the new kid, Costner early on turned to his own imagination, to movies, and baseball. Costner dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player but his hopes were tempered by his upbringing.
COSTNER: The one thing that my parents and my mom specifically instilled in me was the notion that, you know, you can dream all you want but are you willing to get up in the morning and go do the work?
COSTELLO: After graduating from Villa Park High School, Costner set out to find adventure and direction at the age of 18.
HOCTOR: He went to Alaska and worked on a sport fishing boat. He was desperate for a job, and went to use the restroom. Someone had lost their wallet there. He went down the docks and found someone, and said, "Hey, I'm looking for this guy." And -- because his driver's license was there. And he goes, "Yes, I know him." And he goes, "Well, you know, I found his wallet and, would you please be sure he gets it?" And the guy was floored. It's like I can't believe he did that. He goes, "Well, what are you doing here?" He goes, "Well, I'm looking for work." And he goes, "You can work for me."
COSTELLO: After that summer, the consummate good guy put adventure aside and returned home to go to college. Coming up, Costner heads in a new direction and bucks the establishment along the way.
COSTNER: I wasn't actually headed towards my first home or my second job. I was going the other way.
COSTELLO: And later, the hotter they are, the harder they fall.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COSTELLO (voice-over): In the early 1970s, Kevin Costner was a high school graduate looking for direction. He had put aside adventure and dreams of baseball greatness to enroll at California State University Fullerton where he majored in marketing and financing. Mid year through college, he caught the eye of an energetic, young coed named Cindy Silva. It was love at first sight. Entering his senior year, the Fullerton marketing major had graduation, a corporate job and marriage on his mind, but a newspaper ad for a theater audition turned Costner's world upside down.
COSTNER: I was in my senior in college and I went down for an audition and I didn't get it. But it so interested me, what was going on behind the door that I was -- that everybody was going through that I wanted to be on that side of the door.
COSTELLO: Costner was hooked. He graduated in 1978, married Cindy and headed for Hollywood. A move that raised more than a few eyebrows among his new in-laws.
ROD LAKE, FRIEND: His father-in-law was a larger than life character, a corporate guy, who felt that his son-in-law should be graduating from college and taking a job with a large corporation.
COSTELLO: But where others saw risk, Kevin Costner saw liberation.
COSTNER: It seemed a risk to everyone else, but for me, it was a gigantic load off my shoulders.
COSTELLO: Even with no agent and no connections, it wasn't long before Costner landed his first film role.
COSTNER: It was something that was offered to me out of acting class and I was really pleased that, you know, I thought that I could do this.
(UNINTELLIGIBLE), how would you like to go riding with me?
COSTELLO: With "Sizzle Beach," Costner thought he had gotten his first big break. But the soft-core movie never rose above sexual exploitation. Costner vowed to hold out for better roles.
COSTNER: It bothered me because I thought, you know, you don't have to have a lot of money to still -- in your mind aim high, and so that was a shock to me and I quit at that point. And I just reinvested myself in acting because I wanted my career to stand for something.
COSTELLO: Seven years would go by before Costner landed his next on screen gig.
COSTNER: I was a stage manager. I've had a lot of different jobs. I drove trucks. I considered that seven years an educational process. So by the time I actually had a break, I was ready for it.
COSTELLO: What Costner thought would be his big break came when he was cast in the 1983 hit "The Big Chill." It was a central role that etched the actor into Hollywood lore, but a big part never made it to the big screen.
ROZEN: He was cast as the friend who -- his suicide brought this whole group of friends together. He shot a bunch of scenes but they all ended up on the cutting room floor. He briefly showed up as a corpse, so not exactly his most memorable role.
COSTELLO: To compensate Costner for dropping him from "The Big Chill," director, Lawrence Casdan, wrote a part in the next film especially for the 28-year-old actor. In "Silverado," Costner stole the show as Jake, the happy-go-lucky gunslinger.
ROZEN: "Silverado" is the first movie that you really said, "Who's that guy? Who is that? Make sure I check the credits. He was great in "Silverado."
COSTELLO: But "Silverado" finally got Costner noticed. The 1987 thriller "No Way Out" made him a sex symbol.
ROZEN: It was that great sexy scene with Sean Young in the limousine that -- I mean I know a number of women who saw that film more than once.
COSTELLO: With back-to-back hits, Kevin Costner was now on Hollywood's A-list. The offers poured in and a string of huge blockbuster movies followed.
ROZEN: "Bull Durham" is a great movie. It is really one of the classic American films, certainly the best film ever about baseball. That's certainly Kevin Costner's finest moment when he gets to do his "I believe" speech.
COSTNER: And I believe in long, slow, deep soft, wet kisses that last three days.
It's my father.
COSTELLO: Costner struck gold again with baseball and his next movie, "Field of Dreams." By the end of the 1980s, Kevin Costner was a megastar. He'd even formed his own production company to ensure greater creative control over his films. But success had a price even for the family man who shunned the Hollywood party scene.
LAKE: He learned very quickly that celebrity has more disadvantages in many ways than it does advantages. An example of that is that, you know, he just built this great house in (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and he came down stairs one morning and there was a guy at the table eating Corn flakes and Kevin didn't know who he was.
COSTELOO: But over zealous fans weren't enough to dissuade Costner. He didn't just want to act and produce. He wanted to direct movies, as well. For his debut, the lifelong fan of westerns chose the epic "Dances With Wolves."
COSTNER: And I'm going to give these guys -- and I thought I should direct this. I should be the one that rules this because I think I'm the only one that can actually also protect it. So I knew I was in this really awkward spot without anybody else knowing anything about the movie. And I didn't want to just go out and make an interesting directorial debut. I wanted to make a great movie.
COSTELLO: Around Hollywood, Costner's decision to helm a big budget western was risky at best, career suicide at worst. But the first time director proved them wrong. "Dances With Wolves" was a smash hit. The film captured seven Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director.
CASTRO: Right after "Dances With Wolves," there was no one hotter than Kevin Costner for several reasons. I mean, he would have been the hottest guy in Hollywood had he just been an actor. But he was the guy that was writing scripts, was directing films, and winning Oscars, you know.
COSTELLO: Kevin Costner was at the peek of his career in 1991. Anything seemed possible and then, the improbable. Coming up, a marriage and a movie both sink.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COSTELLO (voice-over): With the phenomenal success of "Dances With Wolves," Kevin Costner became the leading man in Hollywood.
CASTRO: He was like a triple threat. He was writing, directing and starring in blockbuster films.
COSTELLO: As an artist, Costner was hailed as a visionary, a perception that was only reinforced when he cast Whitney Houston in the next film, "The Bodyguard." The pop diva had never acted before, but Costner saw something in Houston. It was a gamble that paid off beyond his wildest dreams. CATRO: "The Bodyguard" was the biggest film of that year and it was the biggest soundtrack of that year and it was Kevin Costner getting it right.
CASTRO: He was the producer of that film. So for that reason alone, he'll be wealthy for the rest of his life.
COSTELLO: By the mid '90s, Kevin Costner's success, his clout, even his family life and marriage had become the envy of Hollywood. Costner, it seemed had it all. Then came "Waterworld." For many, the beginning of Costner's downturn.
ROZEN: There was so much talk about I before it opened because it got way over budget. It was costing $180 million or something. It was sort of thought to be a fiasco in Hollywood. It was being referred to ahead of time as fish tar.
COSTELLO: Costner's good fortune at the box office had run out even though "Waterworld" would eventually go on to make nearly $350 million worldwide. The film sent its star's career into a tailspin. Costner's home life also started to unravel. Cracks began to appear in his 16-year marriage to his wife, Cindy. The couple divorced in 1994.
LAKE: There are things that make a relationship extremely difficult in the entertainment business because when you're a heartthrob, when you're a leading man, the world wants to separate you from not just your family, but your friends.
COSTELLO: The relationship that once buoyed Costner was gone and his career tainted by "Waterworld" continued to falter. Movie after movie stumbled at the box office. A skid personified by Costner's futuristic western, "The Postman," a critical and commercial bomb.
CASTRO: I think he had an air of invincibility after all the success that I can do no wrong and kind of lost touch with Hollywood and what people were telling him. So, all those things conspired against him. And it's been a really tough road since then.
COSTELLO: In the decade since his last big hit, Costner has not only struggled professionally but also personally. In 1996, he acknowledged fathering a son, Liam, with Brigitte Rooney, the niece of Pittsburgh Steelers' owner, Dan Rooney. Costner doesn't like to discuss the details of his relationship with Liam, telling "USA Today" -- quote -- "The relationship will evolve." The star downplays tabloid rumors that alleged he was a Hollywood casa nova in the mid '90s.
COSTNER: I didn't have a series of girlfriends. I didn't have a parade of girls that were being introduced to my children. I -- you know, I didn't know what was going to come to me a second time.
COSTELLO: That would change in 1999 when he met Christine Baumgartner, a former model and businesswoman. Despite the age difference, Christine is 20 years younger; the couple has been together for four years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kevin! Turn your head!
COSTELLO: Costner and Baumgartner are now engaged. They plan to marry this summer. It's union Costner has no intention of entering into lightly.
COSTNER: I didn't want to just be with someone because I was lonely. You know feelings are important and you don't want to say to eight different people that you love them. You want to be able to say that to one person in your life.
COSTELLO: Lucky again in love, Kevin Costner is hoping a little of that old magic will reenergize his career as well. Costner's new movie "Open Range" is the kind of western that captured his imagination as a child and is the sort of epic that Costner parlayed into super stardom just a decade ago. But no matter how "Open Range" is received, Costner has never allowed the box office to define his movies or his success.
COSTNER: I think the true measure of a movie is will you take it off a shelf five years from now and show your son? Will you take it off 20 years from now and it has the same relevance?
COSTELLO: At 48, Kevin Costner seems at peace with his choices and his life. And his passions today run far beyond Hollywood. He speaks often about his love for the environment. He put $20 million of his own money into a company that cleans up oil spills. And then, there are Costner's three children -- Ann, Lily and Joe. Friends say the actor's most cherished role is that of father.
LAKE: He's a real dad, you know. He's at their soccer games and baseball games. And you know he wants to be involved.
COSTELLO: Between family, his new love, and the serenity that he's found outside of Hollywood in movie making, Kevin Costner says he's satisfied with how his career will be remembered.
COSTNER: I hope the people that write it are honest people. I hope they're compassionate and I hope that they're -- that they have a bigger idea of cinema and how one operates in it given the conventions of today. And if it's a person that takes a really good look, I'm real satisfied with how that will lay.
ZAHN: Kevin Costner is about to begin filming his next movie, "The Upside of Anger" with actress, Joan Allen. He's also in talks to star with Michelle Pfeiffer in the romantic comedy, "Taming Ben Taylor."
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next, we rock from south and north of the border, Carlos Santana and Atlantis Morissette. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us.
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