The Gossip Girl mom dishes on single motherhood, divorcing while pregnant and green parenting.
Sun Feb 15 2009
In recent months, Kelly Rutherford's life certainly has been something to Gossip about, and it hasn’t even had to do with her sexy turn as Upper East Side socialite Lily van der Woodsen on the CW’s hit show. Instead, the Manhattan mom of two-year-old Herms and a baby on the way found herself a tabloid target when she filed for divorce from her businessman husband, Daniel Giersch, in December. These days, Rutherford is doing everything she can to purge toxins in her life—both figuratively and literally. In addition to making public peace with her soon-to-be-ex, she's become a passionate advocate for green living. Time Out Kids caught up with the multitasking mom at a luncheon hosted by eco-friendly cleaning giant Seventh Generation, which has partnered with WebMD and Healthy Child Healthy World to create a new online tool, Health eHome, that allows families to identify the potential dangers and hazards in their living space.
How did you get involved in the green movement?
It’s something I’ve always been passionate about. Growing up, [my family] always shopped at health food stores. Even as a child I was very sensitive to the smells of cleaning products. If we went to a restaurant that smelled of floor cleaner, I had to leave. So I was pretty excited when the Seventh Generation product line came out, since I could finally buy all the products I needed—diapers, cleaning products, tissues—all in one place. Living a greener eco-existence has definitely been a process for me; I’ve taken baby steps to get where I am. I was driving around in a Range Rover when I initially began using Seventh Generation products; now I drive a Prius. Everyone has got to do what works for them at their own pace.
Are you even more passionate about greening your world now that you have a son and a baby on the way?
As a parent, I try to do what I can to provide my kids with a healthy environment. We eat 90 percent organic and I only fed Herms organic baby food, but I also never denied him sweets or nonorganic foods. I just try to make sure organic foods are accessible to him so that he has choices. When we go out in the city, we’re fortunate to be able to eat at restaurants like Le Pain Quotidien, where we can get organic eggs and bread for breakfast. And at home, I only buy and use products like Seventh Generation. I was shocked to learn just how fatal some ordinary cleaners can be.
What do you like best about raising your family in New York City?
I love Central Park, the Children's Museum of Manhattan and Kidville. In the summer we take chalk and toys to the playground and play in the park. There are just so many options here. I love your magazine! I go online every weekend to find things that are new and fresh for Herms to do. When I’m out with my son just being a mom and my hair is pulled back, people and the press are always really respectful of us. They probably don’t even recognize me!
How does being a mom here compare with parenting in Hollywood?
On the West Coast you’re in and out of your car all the time, but the weather is pretty great. It's not so reliable in New York. But it’s definitely easier for me to put Herms in the stroller and go for a walk here. And of course, we had a blast when it snowed. We tried to find a sled, and since all the new ones were sold out, we got an old-fashioned one, and went sledding in Central Park and laughed our tushies off!
How have you managed to weather such a public split from your husband, and what are some things you’ve done to keep Herms and yourself grounded?
I look to other women going through this for support. The thing is, there’s no good time to go through it unless it’s super amicable. So you try to do it with as much grace as possible and hopefully it will make sense later on. Of course, you can’t always hold it together, but thank god for my kids, because they've given me the strength to get through the rough times. I try to do my best to reassure my son that mama and papa love him, and the rest of the time I just have to breathe, do yoga and pray. And depending on your situation, you have to pray for miracles and remind yourself that this is the right thing. I think most women don't leave unless they know they really have to. The best thing parents can do is look at it as an opportunity to be your best self and come from highest, most conscious place that you can.