Seven years ago, Kelly Rutherford and I gave birth to our sons within months of each other and — through an introduction by actress Caroline Lagerfelt — became friends. Like myself, Kelly had longed to be a mother and was relishing her newfound role. We both got pregnant again around the same time, and with two small kids our lives turned into babies and play dates. Kelly rarely did anything without her children. Like many moms, her kids were the most important part of her life.
While pregnant with her daughter, Kelly filed for divorce from her German-born husband. What happened next has gained wide media attention and outcries from activists and legal experts. During the process, her husband’s U.S. visa was revoked and he had to relocate to Monaco, France. In a shocking court ruling, the children, age 5 and 2 1/2 at the time, were ordered to leave their primary caretaker (their mom) and move to France. The reason? Since their father had been barred from the U.S., their mother was the one who had to travel to see their kids. Kelly offered to travel with her children during holidays and school breaks so they could stay with their father until he could regain entry into the U.S. But the kids — who had lived with their mother since birth and are U.S. citizens — were removed from their schools, their friends and their home and effectively deported from their country.
That was two years ago. Since then, Kelly has fought to bring back her children to their country and traveled more than 60 times to see them. The combined expenses forced her to declare bankruptcy last year. The final outcome is still up in the air, but what remains constant is her unwavering joy for life. Every time I talk to her, I’m always amazed at how happy she is. She’s quick to smile and her laugh is contagious. Being around her, you can’t help but feel uplifted. Despite her challenges, she ends up giving you energy. I’ve always wondered how she does it. What’s her secret? Of course there are times when she cries and feels despair, but she quickly finds a way to turn things around. That’s interesting to me — and worth asking about.
Luckily, Kelly decided to open up about her secret for remaining joyful when the unthinkable happens. Come back this Friday, April 4, for the exclusive interview with Kelly, who was photographed for Sweden With Love at her parent’s home in Los Angeles by Elizabeth Messina. I know she’ll surprise you with her determination and gutsy attitude about life.
The rest of the month is packed (!) with stories that I’m excited to share with you. We have the second installment of my story with Scott Neeson and a fun feature with FACE Stockholm‘s fire-cracker Martina Arfwidson among others. I’m also introducing a new contributor to our Healthy Treats section: Colorado-based photographer Jennifer Little of Sugar Photography, who has baked, styled and beautifully photographed the most delicious ding dongs! And as usual, these treats are vegan, gluten-free and contains no refined sugar.
Thank you for being a part of Sweden With Love — I truly hope you enjoy this month’s issue!
Photograph of Ulrica by Elizabeth Messina ©2014.