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Home » Child Custody » Years After Split, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger Finally “Cool”

Years After Split, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger Finally “Cool”

alec baldwin and kim basinger look solemn with wedding rings in the backgroundBack in 2002, celebrities Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger went through a painful and life-changing divorce. The process consisted of tense litigation for over a year, which isn’t very surprising since famous people usually have a lot of money to fight over. However, money wasn’t the only thing at stake when Baldwin and Basinger separated — there was also the issue of custody arrangements for their daughter Ireland.

Alec Baldwin remarried in 2012 and has since fathered two children with his yoga instructor wife, Hilaria Baldwin, with a third baby on the way. Basinger is still a free agent, although recently there have been rumors of a relationship between the actress and her tenured hairstylist, Mitch Stone. But back in the day, Ireland was an only child, which translated to an aggressive custody battle that eventually resulted in joint custody. This was quite awhile ago, but Kim Basinger has only just publicly confirmed that she and her ex-husband are “cool.” And it only took thirteen years.

The Battle of Ireland

The love story of Kim and Alec begins on the set of 1990’s The Marrying Man. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy. You know how it goes. They fell for each other after working together and got married three years later. Prenup? None to speak of.

After almost a decade together, the bell tolled for the then-Baldwins. Ireland was just a little girl when her parents declared war on each other. Basinger filed for divorce in 2001 and that’s when shit really hit the fan. Believe it or not, there is something worse than a bad divorce: a bad high-profile divorce. For months and months, the lawyers representing Baldwin and Basinger fought a bloody fight for their clients’ respective futures. The prenup was surely missed.

When the divorced was finalized 2002, the couple had wound up spending something like $3 million in legal expenses alone. And yet the dust was years away from settling. Baldwin didn’t even win the right to joint and physical custody of Ireland until 2004, and the tension still didn’t fade for several years after that. It’s 2016 and Baldwin and Basinger being “cool” with each other is breaking news, if that tells you anything.

Just Two Single Celebs

Dealing with the aftermath turned out to be a struggle for both of them. Among other accusations, both Baldwin and Basinger had taken turns accusing one another of alcoholism throughout the divorce. Their willingness to do so demonstrates just how antagonistic the litigation process was, with most of the tension stemming from the question of Ireland’s custody. At one point, Basinger even declared to Baldwin, You’ll never get her — not while I’m breathing.”

But that was then, this is now. They’re cool, remember? That’s not to say that both Basinger and Baldwin don’t remember those years vividly. This week, in an interview for The Edit magazine, Basinger recalled feeling enormously concerned about the divorce’s impact on Ireland:

“Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it. And ours was very public and nasty. So I brought up Ireland in a very unconventional way. I just wanted her to be free. If she wanted to have her friends over and writer over the walls with pen, that was fine. I wanted her childhood to be full of love and light and animals and friends.”

Baldwin had a different set of concerns. To finalize the divorce, he had to commit to anger therapy courses and attend parenting school. But his biggest problem was custody. Each day, he was only allowed one 90-minute window to talk on the phone with his daughter. He did manage to convince Basinger to let him install a private phone line between him and Ireland, although he had to pay for it. Other than the weekly updates Basinger would e-mail him, Baldwin’s contact with his daughter was limited to those short daily phone conversations.

Post-Divorce Blues

It could be argued that Baldwin’s post-divorce situation was shittier than Basinger’s. He didn’t take well to mandatory separation from Ireland, although the custody arrangement improved over the next few years. Then things took a turn for the worse.

In 2006, Baldwin filed contempt charges against Basinger, claiming that she’d repeatedly obstructed his court-ordered visits and communications. He accused her of prioritizing her “resentments” over “the emotional well-being of her child.” Before this lawsuit could get off the ground, however, Baldwin redacted his charges to promote peaceful relations.

As it turned out, a peaceful family life was more out of reach than Baldwin had expected. He described the divorce’s aftermath in a book, which he titled A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, which was published in 2008. Baldwin has been publicly open about his post-divorce years, once stating that during this period he “was staring off a cliff for six years.” And he might call 2007 the year he almost jumped.

The Infamous Voicemail

“You have insulted me. You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being. I don’t give a damn that you’re twelve years old, or eleven years old, or that you’re a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass […] So you better be ready Friday — the 20th — to meet with me, ‘cus I’m gonna let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless, little pig.”

That was just an excerpt from the two-minute voicemail Alec Baldwin left on his daughter’s answering machine in April of 2007. He’d been increasingly frustrated with Ireland for repeatedly missing their daily 90-minute phone conversations, and eventually snapped.

Some media outlets posted transcripts of the entire message, but there’s a serious lack of consistency among them. After giving it a listen with my own ears (which you can do here) I was also sad to discover that many of those “transcripts” were, at the best, filled with misquotes, and at the worst, almost completely made up.

The fact that the media feels fine about publishing a private voicemail between a father and his daughter is ridiculous, especially considering the intense emotional context. Baldwin blamed Basinger for leaking it, naturally, which he hinted at in his public statement of apology:

“I am sorry for what happened. I have endured a great deal over the last several years in my custody litigation. Everyone who knows me privately knows that certain people will go to any lengths to embarrass me and to disrupt my relationship with my daughter.”

But Remember — They’re Cool Now!

When all the pieces of the Baldwin-Basinger divorce story are put together, the finished puzzle is pretty gruesome to look at. Their divorce and its years-long aftermath sucked for Baldwin, it sucked for Basinger, and it sucked for Ireland. On behalf of everybody who cares, I’d like to congratulate this family on making it through those dark years. Anybody who spends six years “staring off a cliff” and doesn’t jump deserves at least a high-five.

Yes, Basinger says the bad blood is gone. Baldwin agrees with her consensus. As for Ireland, she’s a young woman now, and has made it clear that her dad’s insulting voicemail hasn’t driven them apart. You can tell because they’re joking about it:

alec baldwin and ireland baldwin read a book called "if i were a pig"

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients in nasty divorces cases just like that of Baldwin and Basinger. While their story had a happy ending, not all similar stories are so fortunate. Let’s not forget Baldwin’s assessment of those six years leading up to their happy ending. His and Basinger’s struggles serve to illustrate the countless reasons why litigation is a last resort. Contested divorces are expensive, time-consuming, and more often than not, polarizing. Whether your separation involves a custody battle or any other tense issue, the ideal path to a satisfactory resolution starts with legal representation you can trust and ends with a constructive approach to post-divorce circumstances. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of a successful case, so don’t wait! Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s reading and waiting to get you on track toward the justice you deserve.

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