Kelly Rutherford has been ordered by a New York Supreme Court judge to return her two children to their father, Daniel Giersch, in Monaco.
The former Gossip Girl star appeared in court on Tuesday, after refusing to send her children with her ex-husband -- 8-year-old son Hermes and 6-year-old daughter Helena -- back to Monaco last week after they spent the summer in New York with her. Giersch's mother also appeared in court today, though Rutherford did not initially bring her children like she had been ordered to do.
Not surprisingly, the judge reprimanded the 46-year-old actress for not being in compliance with the court order. The actress' attorney said that they found it in the best interest of the children to not bring them to the courtroom due to "the media circus" outside, though they were only 10 minutes away. Hermes and Helena were eventually brought in before noon.
Rutherford handled the decision "very well," and there were no tears in the courtroom, Giersch's attorney in New York City, Ira Garr, tells ET. Garr says that after having lunch with their grandmother, the kids went to the airport to return to Monaco.
Giersch's attorney, Fahi Takesh Hallin, released a statement to ET on Tuesday praising the latest decision. "We are pleased that the American judicial system has prevailed," the statement reads. "Daniel's request to exclude the press today from the courtroom was granted, to protect the children's privacy. In addition, his stance of promoting Kelly's time with the children has not changed."
Rutherford and Giersch, a German businessman, have been locked in an intense custody battle since 2008, when she filed for divorce after two years of marriage. The actress has been traveling back and forth in order to see her kids for six years, and has been very vocal about her battle to have them live with her in America. A California judge sent their kids to live with Giersch in France in 2012, since Giersch's U.S. visa had been revoked, barring him from the U.S.
In June, Rutherford was allowed to take her children back to the U.S. for the summer, on the condition that the children be returned to Monaco at the end of the appointed stay. The mother-of-two was supposed to fly her kids back to Monaco last Thursday, but refused to do so. According to Rutherford, courts in New York and California have ruled that they have no jurisdiction over the custody battle, and since neither state has claimed jurisdiction, she argues, "No state in this country is currently protecting my children."
"It also means that no state in this country currently requires me to send the children away," Rutherford said in a statement to ET on Friday about her decision to defy the court order. "Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country."
"These past three years waiting for my children to come home have been very difficult. My children were forced to leave the United States in 2012 when they were only 2 and 5 years old," she also said. " ... I pray that officials in this country and in Monaco will agree that three years in exile is a very long time in a child's life, and that my children have a right to remain, once and for all, in the United States."