Kelly Rutherford has found peace since her custody drama with ex Daniel Giersch.
“Yes, it was a challenging time. It was a heartbreaking time,” Rutherford, 55, said in an interview with People published on Friday, February 10. “But I focus on the good most of the time, I really do. I’m very thankful [for] where we are. I have a great relationship with my kids.”
Rutherford and the German businessman, 49, were married from 2006 to 2010. The pair welcomed son Hermés in October 2006. While Rutherford was pregnant with their daughter, Helena, who was born in June 2009, she filed for divorce from Giersch, and the estranged couple began fighting over custody of their children. Two months after Helena arrived, the pair reached a temporary agreement to share joint physical custody.
In April 2012, Giersch was deported after his visa was revoked. Since he was unable to enter the United States, the entrepreneur took his and Rutherford’s children to Monaco, where he ultimately decided to reside. Rutherford filed for primary custody so her kids could stay in the U.S. with her.
An American judge ruled in August 2012 that the duo’s joint custody arrangement should remain in place. The judge ruled that since Giersch could not travel to the States, the children should live with their father and Rutherford should be the one to visit.
The actress appealed the decision, but her petition was ultimately denied. In June 2013, Rutherford filed for bankruptcy after spending nearly $2 million on legal fees over the course of the lengthy dispute.
Rutherford continued to fight for her children and was briefly awarded sole custody in May 2015 by a judge in California. Two months later, however, a judge in Monaco ruled that Giersch would have full custody. Rutherford did not want to return her children to Monaco, which led Giersch to accuse her of child abduction. In December 2015, the Monaco judge’s decision reconfirmed that Giersch would have full custody while Rutherford was granted extensive visitation rights.
While Rutherford struggled to bring her kids back to the U.S. for years, she said that keeping “love” in her “heart” helped her get through missing the special moments as her children grew up.
“A lot of people haven’t gone through what I’ve gone through, but they still have challenging relationships with their kids,” she explained on Friday. “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.”
Since the tumultuous dispute, Rutherford has settled in Monaco, where she gets to spend time with her kids.
“My kids are getting older, and they’re sort of like, OK, get on with your life,’” she joked. “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.”
While Hermés and Helena aren’t so little anymore, Rutherford knows they’ll always need their mom, even as they get older.
“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,” she explained. “It’s natural for them to grow up and have their lives. It’s a change, but it’s a beautiful change.”