The actors met on the set of the 1990 movie The Marrying Man and wed three years later. They had no prenup. Basinger filed for divorce from the actor in 2001 and the two fought for custody of their only child at the time, Ireland Baldwin. The couple finalized their divorce and reached an agreement giving both joint custody in 2002 after years of squabbling...and about $3 million in legal costs, according to 20/20.
[Alec and I are] cool now, though. Life goes on," Basinger, 62, told Net-a-Porter's magazine The Edit in an interview posted this week.
"Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it," the actress said. "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 write over the walls with pen, that was fine. I wanted her childhood to be full of love and light and animals and friends."
Alec, 58, had told The Guardian in 2013 that the years of divorce litigation marked "a period that was so painful," him that he "was staring off a cliff for six years." The outspoken actor chronicled his custody journey in his 2008 book A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce, and expressed his frustration about the family court system on 20/20.
"I don't care if the judges and the lawyers die of heart attacks in the process of getting their job done," he said. "They are corrupt, inefficient, lazy, stupid—they're the most God-awful people."
As part of their divorce and custody agreement terms, Alec was to attend anger therapy and parenting school and restrict Ireland's phone calls to a 90-minute window a day, while Basinger agreed to install a private phone line for their daughter, at the actor's expense, and e-mail him weekly reports on their daughter's activities, according to New York Magazine.
In 2006, Alec claimed in court papers that the actress was obstructing his court-ordered visits and phone calls to Ireland, the outlet reported. The actors did not comment.
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Ireland, 20, made headlines in 2007, at age 11, when a nasty voicemail Alec left her leaked online and went viral. The actor called his daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig" for not answering his call. The recording was contained in a sealed court file in Alec and Basinger's custody fight over their daughter.
The actor later issued an apology on his website, saying, "I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child."
"I am sorry for what happened," he said. "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."
In 2012, Ireland talked to Page Six about the incident.
"I've always had a really great relationship with my dad," she said. "The only problem with that voicemail was that people made it out to be a way bigger deal than it was. He's said stuff like that before just because he's frustrated. For me it was like, 'OK, whatever.' I called him back, I was like, 'Sorry, Dad, I didn't have my phone.' That was it."
In 2015, Ireland poked fun at the phone drama, posting on Twitter a photo of her and her dad, who is holding the Jellycat Board Book If I Were a Pig.
"If I were a pig..." Ireland wrote. "I would be a rude and thoughtless one of course!"
Basinger has been linked romantically to her longtime hairstylist Mitch Stone, 52, since late 2014.
"My taste in men has changed a lot over the years," she told The Edit. "When you're young, you're attracted to the 'bad boy,' only to find out that they're actually just bullies or insecure—you're attracted to fantasies. Now, I'm more reality-based."
"As a sexual creature, I've been attracted to a lot of different types, people that others have thought were unattractive," she added. "But showing kindness and humor are the most important things to me now. If you have those qualities then I think that makes you attractive."