Kelly Rutherford, known for her roles in iconic TV shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Melrose Place,” portrayed affluent characters on screen, but her real-life financial journey has been far from glamorous. Despite an estimated net worth of $1 million and a career in acting since the late 1980s, Rutherford’s divorce from her ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, plunged her into financial turmoil.
The divorce, initiated in early 2009, coincided with Rutherford’s pregnancy with their second child, marking the beginning of a prolonged and draining custody battle. This legal strife, spanning several years, consumed not only her time and energy but also a significant portion of her financial resources. By 2013, Rutherford had relinquished primary custody of her children, who resided in Giersch’s home country of Monaco. She disclosed that she had expended her earnings from acting, including funds from “Gossip Girl,” her pension, and stocks, in her relentless fight for custody.
The incessant travel between countries to visit her children, as ordered by the custody arrangements, took a toll on both her emotional well-being and finances. Rutherford faced a daunting financial predicament by 2013, burdened with over $1 million in legal debts related to the custody battle and additional substantial bills. Coupled with the financial strain of child support payments to Giersch, her reported income of $12,000 a month appeared insufficient, leading her to file for bankruptcy.
In subsequent updates on her custody battle, Rutherford expressed the longing for her children to return home, highlighting the distressing situation of her U.S. citizen kids living in a foreign country with no familial connection. The financial strain escalated as the cost of travel to visit her children amounted to approximately $5,000 per trip, further impacting her limited financial resources and ability to maintain a normal life.
Despite facing immense legal and financial hardships, Rutherford received a partial reprieve in court in 2017. Her bankruptcy proceedings reduced the judgment against her from over $1 million to $163,834, with minimal assets remaining. This outcome provided some relief, absolving her from paying off her extensive legal debts, attorneys’ fees, and other outstanding bills.
Amidst the ongoing legal turmoil, Rutherford shared in 2019 that her children were thriving and growing, expressing joy in their close bond and communication. Despite enduring years of tumultuous legal battles and financial strain, Rutherford found solace in witnessing her children’s growth and cherished the profound connection they shared.