kelly-rutherford

'Gossip Girl's' Kelly Rutherford on custody dispute: 'What happened?'

Sep. 20, 2012 at 8:20 AM ET

"Gossip Girl" star Kelly Rutherford is the mother of two little children -- but the only way she gets to see them these days is by taking an international flight. Thanks to a temporary decision made by an American judge, Hermes (age 5) and Helena (age 3) are to remain in their father's custody in Monaco and France while he makes an effort to get his revoked U.S. visa reinstated.

It's a situation that has left Rutherford confused and upset, and she joined TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday, with Star Jones sitting nearby to provide legal insight, to discuss the case and where things are going.

"I was just in France two weeks ago, and I'm going back at the end of the month," said Rutherford about her now-frequent overseas visits to see the children, who are in the care of her ex-husband Daniel Giersch. "I talk to them on Skype, I set my alarm in the morning and call them in the morning to hear their voices when they wake up."

In theory, this is just a temporary situation as Giersch works to get his visa back -- but Giersch has leeway to take years to make that happen. 

"He has no motivation to get back in the country," said Rutherford. "They're living in his mother's boyfriend's home in France -- it's not even in his name."

Jones added that all the court told Giersch is that he has to make a "good faith effort" in getting the visa (the reasons why it was revoked have yet to be revealed). "Good faith efforts are extremely subjective," she noted. "Americans have rights of due process and equal protection, and her children are also American citizens and they've been effectively deported to another country."

The situation remains ongoing for now, leaving Rutherford in an agonizing position: She's contracted to "Gossip Girl," but wants nothing more than to be with her kids full-time. Even more frustrating is that the judge has declared both Rutherford and Giersch to be good parents. "If I'm an excellent parent, and I'm the mother and I've been the primary caregiver of these children ... I've followed every court order, everything this judge has asked me to do, what happened?" she asked.

"It makes no sense, it doesn't make sense to anybody," said Rutherford.

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