Friday August 28, 2015
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By Andrea Peyser
August 28, 2015
I’m SICK over the Kelly Rutherford mess.
The bruising international battle with her ex-husbandover the primary custody of their two adorable little kids just went nuclear.
“It’s just been really hard being up against someone who has a lot of money,” Rutherford, 46, the American actress mom of two American-born kids, best known for having appeared in the TV show “Gossip Girl,’’ told me about her German-citizen ex. She accused his representatives of planting stories in the media that make her appear to be a subpar mom.
“Immediately, it was, ‘I’m going to take you down.’ It’s full-blown war!’’ she said.
We talked between her Skype sessions with her children, who live an ocean away in Monaco with their shady father, Daniel Giersch, 41.
“I love my children! I won’t give up on them,’’ she told me. “The kids should be educated in their own country.’’ That’s the United States, not France, where they’re currently enrolled in school.
“I’ve been on a plane to see them going on 80 times now over the years.
“I’ll always fight for my children.’’ She paused, a sob catching in her throat. “At the same time, he won’t back off.’’
What’s a mother to do? I say — fight!
It’s been an awful three years for Kelly Rutherford and her kids, Hermes, 8, and Helena, 6, children who spent their young lives mainly living in New York City.
That changed in 2012, when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet ruled, insanely, that the kids should live with their dad abroad. Not because of any parental failing on Rutherford’s part, but because Giersch’s US visa, for murky reasons, was revoked by the US State Department.
He can’t set foot on US soil, but Rutherford, who’s been able to work little since then, can visit the children in Europe. The ruling was to be temporary, until Giersch could sort out his visa problems.
Under international law, children legally reside in the country in which they’ve lived for six months. That would be Monaco for these kids. Rutherford said State Department officials report that her ex has taken no steps to seek the restoration of his US visa. She believes this is deliberate, so the kids would be stuck with him in Europe.
“I think the father is trying to alienate us from each other,’’ she said. “I want them to know their father.’’
She added, “No one really knows what he does for a living.’’
Giersch is famous in Germany for successfully suing Google to bar the company from using the Gmail name for its e-mail product in the German-speaking world.
He had registered the trademark G-mail (short for Giersch mail) in Germany in 2000, long before Google announced its own service there. But he settled with Google and handed over the Gmail name in 2012. It’s not known how much, if any, money exchanged hands, but I think it’s safe to assume that Giersch didn’t cave for nothing.
“Everybody is writing ‘poor Kelly,’ ’’ Giersch’s New York-based lawyer, Ira Garr, told me. “All we did is enforce the judgments of a California court and a Monaco order. It’s that simple. She violated a court order, and all the rest is window dressing.’’
Garr was referring to Kelly’s brief refusal this month to ship Hermes and Helena back to Monaco after they spent the summer with her in New York. (Giersch’s side called her a “kidnapper.’’)
She held on to the kids because the California court had washed its hands of the matter, deciding that the case was the concern of Monaco’s legal system. But when Rutherford balked at sending her kids back to their father, New York state Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gesmer ordered her to return them.
She did, handing them over to their paternal grandmother inside the courthouse. Reporters, barred from the proceedings, could hear a child crying, “Mommy!’’ from the hallway.
“She has to live with herself,’’ Rutherford said in a statement about Gesmer. “And if she has a conscience, I suspect she will not sleep well ever again.’’
Rutherford married Giersch in 2006, and they separated in December 2008 when she was pregnant with Helena, and divorced in 2010.
Rutherford is appealing a Manhattan federal-court decision refusing to take jurisdiction over the custody case. It’s a long shot, but I hope she wins.
She needs her kids. The kids need their mom.
Stay strong, Kelly.