It's almost every mother's nightmare: Not being able to see her child on a daily basis.
And for Kelly Rutherford, she's been living that nightmare day in and day out for the past two years.
In December, a judge denied her request for custody of her two children, son Hermés, 7, and daughter Helena, 4, who have been living in France with their father, Daniel Giersch. (Kelly filed for divorce from Daniel in December 2008 after two years of marriage.)
A judge ordered the kids to leave the US — where they were born and had been attending school — and live overseas after Daniel was deported from the US for fraud among other charges, saying they should attend school there as Kelly is able to visit.
Now the Gossip Girl alum is speaking out about the situation, revealing she spent $1.5 million in the process of trying to get her children back home.
“It’s been the most difficult two years of my life,” she says, adding she's visited her kids more than 60 times and had to file for bankruptcy last year after. “There are nights when I wake up crying. But I look at my kids and I go, ‘I want stay happy for them. If I’m positive, their world is okay.’”
Despite her pain, the 45-year-old is intent on trying to remain as positive as possible.
"When things are hard, I try shift my focus to something positive, even if it’s the tiniest thing,” she says. “Suddenly, you start appreciating the little things in life, like a good laugh with a friend or a cup of cappuccino. And you learn that those things can get you through the toughest days. In a way, it’s been an incredible learning experience.”
And it's because of her son and daughter she's found the strength to go on and keep fighting.
"The strength comes from my kids. I have to stay positive for my children, because I want to be the best mom I can be," she tells online magazine Sweden With Love in an exclusive interview. "I want to be healthy for them. I have to keep love in my heart for them."
Check out her full Q&A here with even more photographs by Elizabeth Messina.
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