Kelly Rutherford, who played the mother of Blake Lively's character on "Gossip Girl," has been granted custody of her and ex-husband Daniel Giersch's two children, following three years of their living with Giersch abroad under contentious circumstances.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Mark Juhas ruled on Friday that Rutherford and Giersch's son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 5, must be returned to Rutherford, 46. German national Giersch -- whose visa was revoked in April 2012 during a criminal investigation into fraud and tax evasion -- won a controversial court ruling in August of that year in which Superior Court judge Theresa Beaudet ordered that the children live in Monaco with their father since he could not travel to the United States. The parents technically continued to have joint custody.
"We are ecstatic, and hopeful that Monaco will respect the California court's ruling and send the children home. It has long been our position that Monaco has no jurisdiction because Hermes and Helena, as American citizens, have an absolute right to live in their own country," Rutherford's lawyer, Wendy Murphy, told People magazine in remarks posted Sunday. "If the citizenship shoe were on the other foot and these children were citizens of Monaco, I have no doubt the United States would respect their right to reside in Monaco."
She added, "Monaco officials know that sending the children back to America is the right thing to do. I'm looking forward to the happy reunion of the children not only with their mother, but also with their country!"
Rutherford and Giersch, her second husband, married on Aug. 16, 2006, and she filed for divorce on Dec. 30, 2008, while pregnant with the couple's second child. It was finalized in 2010. She told People recently that as a condition of seeing them on her most recent trip, Giersch wanted her to turn over the children's passports to a third party whom Rutherford said was one of his attorneys.
A custody hearing is scheduled for June 15, People said.