"I wouldn't even use the word 'love' with someone," says the now happily married star

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He may play hardened heroes like Eliot Ness onscreen, but in real life, Kevin Costner’s biggest crisis came about because of his fear – of babies. Having another one, that is.

“For years, fear kept me from marrying Christine,” Costner says of his wife of four years. “Christine wanted a child, but I was afraid I couldn’t be an effective father.”

In an interview with Parade, out Sunday, the 53-year-old Swing Vote star says the painful divorce from his first wife left him unprepared to ever love again.

“I was like the classic single guy – who do I love this week, who next week?” he says. “I wouldn’t even use the word ‘love’ with someone, because that makes things trickier.”

But, he obviously had a change of heart. “[One day] I woke up and thought, ‘Am I going to lose a beautiful woman who is willing to be with me to my very last breath because I am afraid to say yes to a child?’ That’s all it took,” he said. “I decided that I was not going to miss out on love.”

Costner and his wife now have a 1-year-old son, Cayden.

Ironically, Costner’s problem with women used to be that he could never get one.

“I just didn’t have luck with them,” he says. “In high school, when I got my driver’s license, girls looked at it and said, ‘You’re cute.’ Well, baby ducks are cute, if you know what I mean. I put my driver’s license away.”