Why Kevin Costner’s left ear is causing so much head-scratching

Bruno Cooke November 17, 2022
Why Kevin Costner’s left ear is causing so much head-scratching
Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images for Paramount+


Season 5 of Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s neo-Western drama, Yellowstone, premiered on Paramount Network on November 13, 2022, and with it came renewed attention to what some people seem to have identified as an injury on Kevin Costner’s left ear.

Yellowstone has run since June 2018. It stars Costner alongside Luke Grimer, Wes Bentley, Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham. 

Costner has earned numerous accolades during his 40+ year career, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

And yet, in some circles, it’s his ear that’s getting all the attention.

Yellowstone Season 5 | Official Trailer | Paramount Network

Yellowstone Season 5 | Official Trailer | Paramount Network

Why Kevin Costner’s fans think veteran actor has an injury on his left ear

Fans first started remarking on Costner’s left ear around a year ago, it seems.

One spotted it during an episode of Yellowstone in December 2021 and tweeted about it. Another responded by collecting some photos of Costner at a Field Of Dreams event, which appear to show a part of the actor’s left ear missing.

Costner himself has not publicly acknowledged it. So whatever happened to his ear, if anything, details have yet to emerge. Still, ever since then, concerned fans – if that’s not an overstatement – have periodically taken to Twitter to remark on it. 

“I noticed your ear last year,” wrote one Twitter user in February of this year. “I Googled it because I was worried. Couldn’t find anything. … I just hope you are alright.”

Photo by Samuel de Roman/Getty Images for Netflix

Appearances can be deceptive

In December 2014, the Daily Mail published photos of Kevin Costner sporting some “nasty injuries to the back of the head.”

These included a “bloodied cut and an open gash.”

There were also two of him. Why? Because he was on the set of a movie production. He and his stunt double both wore makeup to make it look as if they had suffered bad head injuries. They also had, the Mail quipped, “VERY questionable hairstyles.”

One of the pictures clearly shows what looks like a gunshot wound above Kevin Costner’s left ear, which if it were real, would certainly be a nasty injury.

Costner and co were filming Criminal, a 2016 action thriller.

Fans are hoping Kevin Costner is ‘OK’ after apparent ear injury

One fan of the actor claims to have found a picture of Kevin Costner at the Oscars in March 2022, in which his ear has some sort of patch on it. 

He presented the award for Best Director at the 94th Academy Awards. Jane Campion won, for The Power Of The Dog. 

Another replied that they are hoping, “whatever was wrong, he’s OK now.” 

“I know we are all probably thinking it,” they added, “but let’s hope if it was [an issue], it has gone now.”

GRV Media/The Focus has reached out to representatives for Kevin Costner for comment on his apparent ear injury.

John Dutton actor will stay on at Yellowstone as long as it feels ‘interesting’

In a 2020 interview with Good Day New York, Costner seemed to suggest that his time on the show might be limited. When the interviewer asked him if he would come back to Yellowstone, he said he couldn’t say.

There’s an ending that you’re gonna see, hopefully, it’s a powerful one for you,” he said. “I try to make things and be a part of things that have a dramatic arc to them.”

But, he later clarified his position, in conversation with Entertainment Tonight.

He said he planned to stay on the show “till it doesn’t feel like we’re interesting. … And right now we have our foot on the gas and that feels OK to me,” he said.

Paramount didn’t confirm whether or not season 5 of Yellowstone would happen until over a month after season 4 concluded, meaning any concrete news on a possible season 6 is unlikely to emerge any time soon.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.