Kevin Costner Says 'Thoughtful Leadership Does Not Involve Ego': 'You Can't Put Yourself First'

Kevin Costner gets candid in the new issue of AARP the Magazine about his life now, raising seven kids, and what knows about good leadership

Kevin Costner daughter loves Frozen

Kevin Costner is getting candid about the government in his new AARP the Magazine cover story.

The Oscar winner and musician, 65, who has seven children and now stars on Paramount Network's hit western series Yellowstone, says he's lived a long enough life to know what works and what doesn't when it comes to leading a nation.

"Government has to be anticipatory," says the star of the upcoming film Let Him Go. "Anticipating problems is the key to being a leader. I know that sounds like a simple word, anticipation, but that's what we expect."

Currently working from his Santa Barbara home with his wife Christine Baumgartner and their three kids—Cayden, 13, Hayes, 11, and Grace, 10—he says he's believes those serving the country have a duty to put the country first.

"Thoughtful leadership that does not involve ego, does not involve career extension, any of that. If you're in public service, you can't put yourself first. If you do that, that's wrong."

Kevin Costner AARP The Magazine
Jim Wright/Trunk Archive

Costner says he also applies the same practical wisdom when it comes to raising his family.

"It's important for me to anticipate things going wrong and make the best move for my family, for my extended family and friends," he says. "Sometimes what you think you can protect is a bit of an illusion. But there's a lot of problems that can be solved with common sense. About 20 percent of our problems may not have a solution. But 80 percent of our problems are manageable, and we just haven't managed them yet."

As for whether he hopes any of his kids will follow his footsteps into acting? He's indifferent, as long as they turn out to be good people.

"I want to see what kind of people my kids become," he says. I don't care what they do, I want to see who they are."

Click here to read more about Kevin Costner in AARP the Magazine

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