Kelly Rutherford: Rebuilding Life Post-Custody Loss In 2015

Kelly Rutherford new ft1

Fifteen years have passed since former Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford initially engaged in a protracted and expensive custody dispute with her ex, German businessman Daniel Giersch.

At the time of her separation from Giersch, 49, their son Hermes was 2, and Rutherford was expecting their daughter Helena. A judge awarded the couple 50-50 joint custody of the children, a decision often considered typical in such circumstances.

However, due to Giersch’s work visa issues preventing him from reentering the U.S., the judge ruled that the children should reside permanently with their father in Monaco. This decision mandated Rutherford, 55, to either relocate to Monaco or travel there to visit her children.

Kelly Rutherford new ft2
Kelly Rutherford (Credit: kellyrutherford/Instagram)

The ruling came as a shock, prompting Rutherford to invest significant time and resources into reclaiming full custody of her children in the U.S., but her efforts proved fruitless. In a desperate move one summer, she chose not to return them to Monaco after a six-week visit, leading to accusations of abduction.

Despite her attempts, the court ordered the children to return to Monaco, and over time, the story faded away as Rutherford retreated from the spotlight. She ultimately spent close to $2 million in legal fees and declared bankruptcy.

Nearly a decade later, she reflects on that tumultuous period and the journey toward finding peace and happiness.

Rutherford said,

“Sometimes we just need to retreat and be with our kids and just heal and take time for ourselves.”

Following the heartbreaking decision, she has focused on embracing the past decade, primarily dedicating herself to motherhood and pursuing non-showbiz ventures. “It’s been healthy for me, and good,” she reflects.

Despite her low-profile approach, the actress, known for her roles in soap operas and dramas like Melrose Place, and gaining prominence with Gossip Girl in 2005, is gradually reemerging into the limelight. With recent appearances at Paris Fashion Week, she has garnered praise for her timeless sense of style.

“My kids are getting older, and they’re sort of like, ‘Okay, get on with your life,’” she says with a laugh. “They’re teenagers now, and they’ve got their friends and their stuff. So my day-to-day has recently been more about me and my dogs, working and traveling.”

“And being there for my children … when they have time for me. They still need you when they’re teens, but it’s different. I think you just have to be there for them when they do need you. It’s natural for them to grow up and have their lives. It’s a change, but it’s a beautiful change.”

Kelly Rutherford new ft3
Kelly Rutherford (Credit: kellyrutherford/Instagram)

Reflecting on her journey, she now acknowledges the pain she endured during the highly publicized custody battle.

“Yes, it was a challenging time. It was a heartbreaking time. But I focus on the good most of the time, I do,” she says. “I’m very thankful for where we are. I have a great relationship with my kids.”

As for letting go of any grudges or bitterness, Rutherford says that’s a choice she’s had to make for herself.

“I think you’ve got to keep love in your heart,” she says. “I mean, a lot of people haven’t gone through what I’ve gone through, but they still have challenging relationships with their kids. But at the same time, you heal, you grow. You look at the lessons that came from it. You look at how your kids have grown up, and how they’re doing so well, and you’re thankful for that.”

“Social media has always been organic for me,” she says. “I never had anyone do it for me. I just post quotes I like, and it’s not necessarily for the numbers or likes. I just found my way with it. I just think now [that] it’s so important to put good energy out in the world. I think the world needs it. We all need it.”

As for getting through her darkest times?

“I really do believe it’s surrender. I think it’s surrender and letting go because every time you kind of go up against something or fight something, I think it’s worse. I mean the thing is, it gets better. It eventually does get better.”


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