Kris Connor/ Getty Images
Kris Connor/ Getty Images
Kelly Rutherford is taking a stand on her home turf.
The actress—who was supposed to fly with her children to Monaco yesterday in order to drop them off with their dad, her ex-husband Daniel Giersch—has instead refused to take that trip.
"These past three years waiting for my children to come home have been very difficult," began a lengthy statement from Rutherford obtained by E! News. "My children were forced to leave the United States in 2012 when they were only two and five years old. In May, a judge in California gave me sole custody and brought them home. I am immensely grateful and overjoyed to have them back. Since May, however, the court proceedings have been very confusing."
After Giersch's camp objected to the custody ruling, arguing that a court in Monaco had taken jurisdiction of the case since 2014, another Los Angeles judge agreed last month that California did not have jurisdiction over the matter. Days later, a judge in New York, where Rutherford lives most of the time, ruled that they didn't have jurisdiction either.
A source told E! News earlier this week that Rutherford was "beside herself" thinking about returning daughter Helena and son Hermés to Europe. They have been living primarily in Monaco since 2012 and she has been trying to get them back permanently ever since.
The decisions in California and New York "means no state in this country is currently protecting my children," Rutherford's statement continued. "It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away. Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country."
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Giersch's attorney has not yet returned a request for comment.
Rutherford further states that California "may never have had jurisdiction to send my children away in the first place" because neither had lived in the state for six months prior to the ruling. "Legal advisors have informed me that when jurisdiction is wrongfully asserted by a state, all orders issued thereafter, such as the one that sent my children to live in France and Monaco in 2012, are null and void," she said.
The former Gossip Girl star states that Giersch recently filed for sole custody after having the children declared "habitual residents" in Monaco and contends that he agreed in 2012 that they would only be living temporarily with him. "I trusted my ex-husband's agreement, and cannot now send them away in light of the legal actions taken in Monaco in violation of that agreement by my-husband," Rutherford says, noting that the Monaco court treated her "with respect" earlier this year and she hopes the court "will respect [her] children's right to reside in their own country."
"I hope this decision will end this painful litigation, and that my children will be allowed to live in peace in their own country," Rutherford concluded. "Like all German citizens, my ex-husband can presumably travel to the United States on his German passport and exercise his parental rights in this country, just as I have done for the past three years in France and Monaco on my U.S. passport.
"I pray that officials in this country and in monaco will agree that three years in exile is a very long time in a child's life, and that my children have a right to remain, once and for all, in the United States."
A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3 in Monaco.
A source told E! News yesterday, when Rutherford was still due to fly out there, that Giersch was not nor was ever planning to ask the court to lessen his ex-wife's time with the children. "He is thrilled when Kelly sees the children," the insider said, and gives her both money and airline miles to facilitate her trips.
UPDATE: Giersch's attorney, Fahi Takesh Hallin, says in a statement to E! News:
"Daniel will continue to protect the children from any harm and any media exposure. Unfortunately Kelly has now added child abduction to extortion and false statements on her list of actions. Daniel will make sure that the children's safety and well being will be restored as soon as possible. He is very concerned about the traumatic impact that Kelly's behavior will have on the children. Kelly was to have delivered the children in France to their father on August 7, 2015. Child abduction is a crime, and everyone involved in kidnapping or abducting the children will face the appropriate legal consequences. Anyone associating themselves with Kelly and her abduction is violating the law."
—Additional reporting by Senta Scarborough