Kelly Rutherford will stop at nothing to ensure her two children with ex-husband Daniel Giersch return to the United States.
The Gossip Girl actress, 44, appeared on the Nov. 16 episode of NBC's Dateline to discuss the current state of her custody dispute with the self-made millionaire. Because Giersch's visa has been revoked, an L.A. judge ruled that Hermes, 5, and Helena, 3, must live in France with their father for the foreseeable future.
"Why would you take the kids away from their mother, out of their school, away from their friends and everything they've known, and plant them somewhere else?" asked Rutherford, who is based in New York City. "It's hard to even believe it's real."
The judge stipulated that Giersch must provide Rutherford with plane tickets, a car and a place to stay in France. "I was on a plane three weekends a month," the actress said. "I'm being punished for being a good mother and taking care of my children, and he's being rewarded for having his visa revoked. Our kids are U.S. citizens and they have a right to be raised in the U.S."
The actress openly sobbed during the interview. "It's crazy. It's like, what matters other than your babies? Nothing. What matters is that your babies are okay."
Rutherford and Giersch split in 2009 while the star was still pregnant with Helena; the German entrepreneur later claimed that he only learned of his daughter's birth via the tabloids. "The truth is he knew that I was in labor and I was at the hospital. I just didn't want him right there because it was very painful," explained Rutherford, who acknowledged that she did not put his name on Helena's birth certificate. "I was very, very hurt."
Giersch also accused his ex-wife of trying to alienate their children from him. "It's like someone declared war," Rutherford said.
Though Giersch's attorney would not comment on the status of his visa, he expressed concern over Rutherford's "aggressive public relations approach" and said his client's children "are happy and thriving."
Because the U.S. State Department does not release information regarding revoked visas, Rutherford must simply wait for Giersch to get it restored. "How do you take two young citizens, little kids, out of the country, away from their mother because the father's visa was revoked?" she asked. "I would think that their rights were being violated."