Kelly Rutherford’s ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, is suing Vanity Fair for defamation in connection with the former couple’s three-year long custody battle over their two young children, Hermes and Helena. A November 2015 article, entitled “Inside Kelly Rutherford’s Brutal, Globe-Spanning Custody Battle,” which appeared in the Condé Nast-owned magazine and on its website, prompted the 41-year old German businessman to file suit. According to the civil lawsuit, which was filed in a German court last week, Giersch has “suffered significant injury to his reputation due to . . . [an array of] untrue and defamatory assertions." As a result, he is reportedly seeking millions from the New York-based publication.
In particular, Giersch is taking issue with the following claims published by Vanity Fair: that Rutherford had never sought full custody of the children initially; that she had filed for divorce when she three months pregnant with their daughter, when, in fact, it was Giersch who initiated such proceedings; that Giersch did not want their son to have a US passport; that Rutherford “didn’t mind” their son having a German passport; and that Giersch was able to hold their daughter in the hospital the day after she was born, among others.
If the court finds for Giersch, Vanity Fair could face disciplinary fines up to $275,000 if it continues to assert several disputed statements in the article in Germany. In addition to monetary damages, Giersch is also reportedly seeking to keep images of the children out of the media so they can “have an opportunity to grow up in peace.”
Giersch’s legal team has issued the following statement in connection with the litigation: “Our client has suffered significant injury to his reputation due to these untrue and defamatory assertions, against which he is now defending himself. The actions taken against the false assertions published in Vanity Fair are only the beginning. The children of our client must have an opportunity to grow up in peace and to be shielded from the glare of the public eye. This means that they should not have to read falsehoods in the press about their father. It also means that they should be kept out of the media spotlight as much as possible.”
The former couple’s divorce and custody proceedings have been a matter of public interest for years and as Vanity Fair wrote in the aforementioned article:
Rutherford has been living a mother’s nightmare. In 2012, her two children were sent to live with their German-citizen father in foreign countries, France and Monaco, after a controversial, well-publicized custody decision. If her Gossip Girl colleagues are among those who best remember her daily life with her children, that’s because, except for rare vacation time when the children are allowed to come to New York, the years of the show were the last they were able to live with her.
It was reported this month that the former “Gossip Girl” actress had failed to gain custody of her kids and will only be able to visit them in Monaco and France. The rulings by a judge in Monaco followed a long-running legal dispute that was enlivened in August, when Rutherford was forced to surrender son Hermes, 9, and daughter Helena, 6, to Giersch’s mother inside a closed New York City courtroom.