Kelly Rutherford on Being a Single Mom, Divorce and 'Gossip Girl'

Filed under: Celeb Parents, Celeb News & Interviews

Kelly Rutherford stars as a socialite mom on "Gossip Girl." Credit: Getty Images

Kelly Rutherford developed a following after joining the cast of "Melrose Place" in 1996, as Megan Lewis Mancini, a prostitute-turned-doctor's wife.

After the series wrapped, the actress scored prime parts in more TV shows, including "The District" and "E-Ring," and, today, stars in the hit series "Gossip Girl" as posh New York City mom Lily van der Woodsen.

But Rutherford, 42, says her best role is being a mom to her two children, Hermes, 4, and Helena, 2, with ex-husband Daniel Giersch.

In New York to promote ZENO, an anti-aging device that combines heat, vibration and red light technology, Rutherford, who also just launched her own handbag collection on QVC, talked to ParentDish about why life is not always red carpet fab. An edited version of the interview follows.

ParentDish: You're a single working mom.
Kelly Rutherford: I am. It is tough, but I am a fortunate working mom.

PD: How has it been going it alone?
KR: I basically juggle my day around my kid's schedule.

PD: How did you handle the pressure of going through a high-profile divorce while you were still pregnant with your daughter and raising a toddler?
KR: I think, for me, a lot of it was keeping a balance and to not miss a beat, especially when it came to my son. I nursed him longer than I probably should have because I felt it was not the right time to throw out yet another change. A mother knows what is best and appropriate for her child.

PD: Was it tough for you to go through such a painful experience in public, while trying to protect your son?
KR: Yes. I think it is tough for any mother to go through. The other side of it was it made me an advocate for women who are going through it and this experience gave me strength. Don't get me wrong, there were moments in the shower when I would cry and say, 'how am I going to get through this?' I had my definite moments.

PD: But you stayed strong.
KR: I had to stay strong and be there for my kids. That was my mantra, I stayed focused on my kids and I knew the rest would be OK.

PD: Do the kids see their dad?
KR: They go see him and, when they do, I use the time off to go to sleep or have dinner with a friend.

PD: What will you do when your children are old enough to ask questions about why Mommy and Daddy aren't together?
KR: I have talked to therapists about it. A lot of it is keeping it simple. I won't say anything negative about their dad. Kids know everything, so I will be honest in the most positive way I can. I want them to know we both love them very much.

PD: Your "Gossip Girl" co-star Matthew Settle went through a similar situation. Did having a colleague and close friend help make these difficult times easier?
KR: Oh, yeah. Matthew was amazing. We didn't talk too much about the details, but we realized what the other was going through and how odd it was we were going through it at the same time. It was also interesting for me because I got to see the father's point of view from a situation like this.

PD: Speaking of Matthew, things between Lily and her on-screen husband, Rufus (Settle's character) have been rocky this season. Do you think they can weather the storm?
KR: I think so. I think Rufus is realizing I am a certain type of mother -- Lily is -- and that I may have made choices he wouldn't have necessarily made. I think Rufus will come around and see that.

PD: Lily's ex-husband (played by William Baldwin) is returning to the show. Will this make things more difficult for Lily and Rufus to smooth things out?
KR: Anytime something like that happens to anyone it will strain a relationship (laughs). But Billy is a wonderful actor and brings a lot to the part.

PD: In terms of being a mother, are you and Lily anything alike?
KR: The big difference is the age difference with our kids. Lily's kids are getting ready to leave the nest and Kelly's children are very young. But we all love our kids.

PD: Do you still believe in marriage?
KR: I think marriage is great. I believe in it.

PD: You are flawless. I don't see one line on your face.
KR: I just really liked this product. ZENO really firmed my skin, the device felt really good and it gave me the best results.

PD: Since you are a working mom, where do you find the time to perform the skin care routine?
KR: I barely have time to get a facial. But applying the serum and using the device for just a few minutes before I go to bed made such a difference.

PD: Where are your problem areas?
KR: After kids, your skin loses its elasticity.

PD: What is one role you would like to one day play?
KR: Gloria Steinem. I want to empower women.

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