Magazine article Working Mother

Kelly Rutherford

Magazine article Working Mother

Kelly Rutherford

Article excerpt

THE STAR OF THE HIT TV DRAMA GOSSIP GIRL

Findsgrace and gratitude in her role as hands-on mom to Hermes, 3, and Helena, 8 months, despite the tabloid feeding frenzy over her contentious Custody battle. BY SUZANNE RISS PHOTOGRAPHED BY JIM WRIGHT

How do you combine your acting career with raising two young children?

Gossip Girl has an ideal schedule for a working mom. It's an ensemble show, so I'm not in eveiy scene, and I work two to three days a week. The show worked around my pregnancy with Helena by dressing me in big jewelry and big handbags- I think we started a fashion trend. We have three or four months off a year. I could be busier, but I want to be there for my kids.

Do you think today's pregnant working women face pressures that differ from those our mothers faced?

We work up until the last minute, whether we're throwing up or not! Then we're expected to give birth in two seconds or we get a C-section, because doctors are in a rush. We barely sleep the first months of our child's life, but we're expected to get back into our skinny jeans right away.

How have you handled the public nature of your custody case?

It's challenging. I certainly never expected the emotional roller coaster. It was tough to be pregnant and have this happen. It's made me stronger.

You were pregnant with Helena while fighting for custody of Hermes?

Yes. The stress while I was pregnant was difficult. Hermes was 2 and still nursing. But Helena was born smiling- and she latched right on!

What's your custody arrangement?

We have a 50-50 split with Hermes. With the baby, it's a step-up plan, so she's with me more now. The courts see child support as a separate issue from custody. I receive no financial support from their father.

What surprised you about the case?

My ex, who works out of the home, claimed I was a career monger. He said I worked crazy hours, when I'd only worked 40 days that entire year. I was also surprised that I didn't have my day in court - I had my five minutes.

What was the court system like?

A male judge who was retiring after spending his entire career in family law didn't agree with me that it was important for Hermes to be able to bond with his baby sister. 1 hope that as more women become judges - and as more divorced women become judges - the family courts will change.

We don't hear a lot about the strain on a marriage after a baby is born, do we?

Women often need their husband's support more than they get it. It's hard on the relationship. I saw red flags, but I was in love. We tried therapy. I stayed in the marriage as long as I could so that I could look at my son and say that I tried everything. I want Hermes to know that he's loved in both homes. I tell him every day, "Papa loves you."

How did you know it was over?

It's heartbreaking when you realize the person you married is not who you thought he was. Many women convince themselves to stay, but 1 realized staying would have been unhealthy for the children. I'm certainly not advocating divorce. It's extraordinary to share your life with someone. You need communication and respect. If you're not getting that, if you're not getting support, if your partner isn't honoring you, then you need to think about the fact that you're setting that example for your kids. I knew the alternative couldn't be any worse. I trusted that there could be something better than what I had experienced or what I could imagine.

What was that period like?

I was scared. It was very tough, and I didn't know how I'd get through it. …

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