The couple’s two children – six year-old Hermes and three year-old Helena – live with their father in Monaco. Last summer a judge granted Giersch primary custody after his visa was revoked and he was banned from entering the US.
Rutherford, best known for her role in popular teen drama Gossip Girl, is fighting to regain custody.
She has made more than 40 trips to Europe to see the children.
The actress told E! News that she had “spent every penny. Every penny from Gossip Girl, my pension, my stocks has been spent fighting for my children.”
She described the trauma of leaving her children at the end of each visit:
“Having to peel my son off my body, screaming, “Mama, save me!” when I had to give him to his father—not because he doesn’t love his dad, but because he’s too young and it was like a forced thing.”
The visits were, she said, like “being in a park full of laughing happy children, and then the next day you walk by the park and it’s empty.”
Rutherford married the German businessman in 2006 but the couple split in acrimonious circumstances three years later while she was still pregnant with their second child.
“I said, “I don’t want any money, I don’t want anything, let’s figure out a great plan for the kids. The relationship was obviously not working.’ And four years later this is where I am.”
The 44 year-old hopes to persuade the judge at a new custody hearing scheduled for September to let the children live with her in New York.