Since 2008, Kelly Rutherford has been fighting a brutal and very public custody battle with her ex-husband Daniel Giersch.
In a recent Vanity Fair feature, the former Gossip Girl actress, 46, spoke in detail about the legal battle during which her children ended up living in Monaco with their German father.
"Daniel was subtly verbally abusive," she said of her ex-husband, 41.
"He was trying to alienate me from everyone in my life—my parents, my brother. I didn’t want any money from Daniel. I wanted us both to be great parents. I wasn’t asking for full custody."
She first filed for divorce in December 2008, when she was three months pregnant with Helena.
"Divorce is a total racket… Everyone's making tons of money off of stupid people who don’t settle out of court.
For my ex-husband, with unlimited funds, who sued Google, this is just his sort of side fun project,” she explained.
Kelly however was forced to declare bankruptcy in May 2013 after seven years of lawyers' fees, which have been reported as costing close to €2 million.
"I sold everything — every stock, everything I owned," she says. "I went through my pension; I was living in my friend's maid’s room.”
She explained that while her family offered their support, they told her that she wouldn’t be able to continue paying the legal fees.
In August, she was ordered by a judge to send her children back to Monaco to be with their father. She briefly fought the decision due to confusion over jurisdiction, but was forced to send her children to Monaco.
"My children and I have lost years of dailiness. How do you get those years back?" Rutherford said in her Vanity Fair interview. "There is no way I am not going to fight to get my children back."
Former co-stars of the actress, including Ed Westwick also spoke to the magazine in support of Kelly:
She was amazing and caring to her children," he said, "She was how you would want your ideal mother to be. Most of the rest of us were teenagers and she was like our mother."