Kelly Reilly is the fierce, fiery, and fabulous Beth Dutton in Paramount’s Yellowstone, and her character is one of the most iconic in the pop culture realm.
Beth, John Dutton’s daughter, plays a massive role at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch and her impact on the series is monumental. She’s tough, gets what she wants, and is not afraid of “being a tornado” if chaos is what the recipe calls for.
There’s a soft side of Beth that’s saved for Rip Wheeler, the man who stole her heart when she was young, even if it took her years to admit it. Beth didn’t want to love anyone, didn’t need to love anyone, but she fell for the charming guy, and it was enough to heal her hurt at the same time that it broke her.
Why would a larger-than-life love hurt her? It all goes back to a secret Beth keeps and has been for some time. Fans first heard the secret in season 3, and it’s still something Rip has yet to find out. What exactly is her big secret, and do fans think it’ll change things for the couple when Rip finds out? Let’s take a look.
When did fans find out about Beth’s secret
Season 3 gave fans the first real bit of insight into the secret Beth has been carrying, the unfair circumstances that led her to become the person she is today. It wasn’t one specific situation that changed her, it was several, but this one had a significant impact — this one was more powerful than most.
She got pregnant at an early age, and the one person she knew she could ask for help was her brother, Jamie. Jamie thought about two things when she asked, but it’s like he considered the wrong thing first.
It’s easy to hold a deep disdain for Jamie and what he did, but in an interview clip, even Kevin Costner notes that Jamie was scared, doing what he thought he had to do, the thing he thought was right at the time. Everyone knew the Dutton family name, so he had to take Beth to a location that wouldn’t hold her in any regard; the rest was a loss he was willing to take. It wasn’t a loss Beth was willing to take, though; regardless of what he was trying to do to protect his family, he took away a choice that belonged to his sister.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Reilly shares that one of the most significant components of Beth is her grief.
“The biggest thing that Beth is made up of is grief, I think. And who doesn’t know what grief is? So I relate to some things in her and understand them and I find the way they’re executed are really truthful and powerful.”
Yellowstone made it a point to highlight the idea that this clinic, the same one that helped Native Americans, forced sterilization on women every day. It wasn’t just a situation made up in Yellowstone; it happened every day. If you want to follow the heartbreaking storyline, season 3, episode 5, is the place to start.
How does the secret influence Reilly’s portrayal of Beth
In the same interview with Vanity Fair, Reilly mentions that Beth has had to survive so much, making her choose strength instead of tenderness.
“This is a woman who had to survive so much. How is she going to survive that by being weak-spined, by being gentle? Gentle will kill you. Gentle will bend that flower and take its leaves off it and it will be done. To find that strength isn’t always pretty.”
Being powerful allows Beth not to feel the crushing weight of grief constantly. She ultimately chose to get an abortion when she was younger, but the rest of the equation wasn’t one she put together herself. She takes responsibility for it in a conversation with Rip, and while she doesn’t give him details, she said she’s made two choices in her life that were based on fear, and they “cost her everything.”
Reilly knew from the start that something happened between Jamie and Beth — something monumental, and that lack of trust that exists between them now holds the space where a lot of love once was.
In addition to the betrayal from the one she trusted most, she also lost her mother, saw her father constantly fighting for his name, life, and land, and didn’t know what the future held with the man she loved most. The secret undeniably changed the way Reilly brought Beth to life, as did every heartache she felt before it.
What does Beth’s secret mean for her future with Rip
For Rip, the sun rises and sets with Beth Dutton. She’s always been the woman who made his world go round, the one he’d put up his most valiant fight for, the one he’d go to battle beside. Their love story is something seemingly written in the stars, and as star-crossed lovers, that’s saying something.
While the secret will undeniably hurt Rip, we don’t see it being Beth that he holds resentment towards. Rip knows John Dutton, he always has, and he will understand Beth’s fear in telling him what she was experiencing. He also knows Jamie and the sneaky and often unpredictable way he handles business — if he directs his anger towards anyone, it’ll undeniably be him.
Rip will likely struggle with hearing the news, breaking a piece of his heart as Beth tells him what happened at the clinic that day, but it’s unlikely that it will destroy their bond. In fact, what’s most likely is that he’ll be able to help Beth work through the depth of the tragedy and betrayal she holds onto.
While the story is still being written, Jamie has the most to lose when the big secret is revealed, and we don’t see Rip hesitating to take it from him.
Speaking to TVLine, Reilly was vulnerable in talking about a future for Beth without Rip, which is unimaginable for her — and all of us.
“I couldn’t imagine that. He is her anchor, her rock. He is her home. That would untether her to the point of… I don’t know who she would become without that. Now that she’s had that love and allowed herself to fully move into it, and we see how devoted she is and how much she adores him, to lose him would probably cut off the last link to her humanity.”
Yellowstone‘s fifth season kicks off on November 13, and the narrative is only getting more complicated.