Kelly Rutherford Opens Up About Heartbreaking Custody Battle: “It Was a Done Deal”

Kelly Rutherford
Kelly Rutherford opened up about her heartbreaking custody battle in a new interview with Good Morning America on Friday, Aug. 14 -- watch here. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Heartbreaking. Kelly Rutherford opened up about her heartbreaking custody battle in a new interview with Good Morning America on Friday, Aug. 14, telling Robin Roberts about her efforts to keep her kids, Hermes and Helena, in America, while her ex-husband Daniel Giersch wants them in Monaco.

“I walked into a courtroom where everything felt like it was already done. It was a done deal,” Rutherford, 46, told Roberts of Tuesday’s hearing, where a judge ruled that the children had to return to Europe to be with their father. “And his mother was sitting there with plane tickets, smiling, ready to take them. Nobody had heard our argument.”

Rutherford and the German businessman have been engaged in a bitter custody battle since they split in December 2008, while she was pregnant with her youngest. The latest hearing was held after Rutherford refused to fly her kids back to Monaco last week as previously scheduled. Giersch then accused her of child abduction.

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“I was accused of things that I wasn’t even able to defend. Kidnapping,” Rutherford noted on GMA. “He was in communication with them every day. You know, I talked to my lawyers, they were saying, this is concerning on many levels.”

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Giersch was not present for the hearing this week, but his mother took the kids directly from the courtroom to the airport on a flight bound for Europe on Tuesday. Rutherford was forced to say goodbye immediately after the ruling, but Giersch’s attorney Ira Garr told Us that her farewell with the kids was far from dramatic. “There was no scene. They hugged and said goodbye to their mother, and she said she will see them soon,” Garr told Us. “They easily transitioned to their grandmother, who they love very much. Everything was done very civilly.”

Kelly Rutherford and kids
Kelly Rutherford and her children attend an event on July 25, 2015 Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

Rutherford reflected back on those last moments on Friday. “I’m glad they didn’t have any notice,” the Gossip Girl alum shared. “In a way, I think it would [have been harder]. ‘Your grandma is here. You’ll go see your dad.’ We had to be up for them. And, you know, I was happy the way it ended up, the way it happened. I didn’t have to deal with media or anything that would have been sort of harmful, I think.”

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Rutherford said that she has subsequently been in touch with her kids since they returned to Monaco this week. On Friday afternoon, the star posted an Instagram photo of them playing with an iPad. It’s unclear when the snapshot was taken.


A photo posted by @kellyrutherford on Aug 14, 2015 at 8:09am PDT

Meanwhile, her lawyer Wendy Murphy reiterated how the decision for Hermes and Helena to reside in Monaco was initially a temporary agreement. “He violated his agreement. He violated an American court order, and the saddest part of this story is no American court seems to give a damn,” Murphy said on Friday.

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“I think that Monaco has been put in this position because of the decisions made here in U.S.,” Rutherford added. “You’re being vocal not only for your children — this is happening to so many people. I have people stopping me on the streets, writing me letters, sending me envelopes of their cases… There needs to be laws in place. You’re setting the kids up for a problem, the parents up for a problem. I shouldn’t have to fight this in a foreign court.”

Rutherford previously voiced her objections to the ruling in a statement released to Us Weekly this past Wednesday. “What the judge did yesterday was shocking, illegal, and abusive to my children,” she told Us. “Without any legal authority, a judge from the lowest ranking court in the state court system violated the highest ranking federal constitutional rights of my American citizen children.”

She vowed in the final part of her statement to fight for her kids. “One day I will land in the courtroom of a decent judge. My children ask me all the time if I am still fighting for them, and I always tell them the day will never come when I say ‘no,'” she concluded to Us. “As for Judge Gesmer, she has to live with herself, and if she has a conscience, I suspect she will not sleep well, ever again.”

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