By peoplestaff225
Updated July 08, 2009 05:00 PM
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For Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford, the news that she was expecting her second child came as a bittersweet surprise.

Already the mother of adorable 2 ½-year-old son Hermés Gustaf Daniel, Kelly was overjoyed at the idea of having another baby. But her volatile three-year marriage to the children’s father was already at the breaking point.

So when she was three months pregnant, Kelly, 40, made the heart-wrenching decision to leave her husband, Daniel Giersch, and have the baby on her own. Their daughter, Helena Grace, was born on June 8th in Los Angeles.

Now, for the first time since the controversial split, Kelly is speaking out. She recently sat down with Life & Style at her home to set the record straight on her life-changing choice, her bitter custody battle and her plans to raise her two children on her own.

Click below for the story and more photos of Kelly and Helena.

Kelly says it didn’t take long for her to realize she and her husband, a German entrepreneur, weren’t the ideal match they seemed to be at first.

“I met this person, I fell in love with him and I wished for the best,” Kelly tells the magazine. “He was charming in the beginning.” But soon after the birth of their son in 2006, “it was pretty obvious we weren’t getting along.”

Still, for Hermés’ sake, she tried to make the relationship work.

“I just didn’t want [Hermés] to go through anything he didn’t have to,” Kelly says. “I stayed until I couldn’t stay any longer, even though I knew things were rough. I wanted to be sure. When you have a child with someone, I think you have to be able to look at them and say, ‘I did everything I could,’ before you realize it’s time to move on.”

The couple conceived Helena when they were trying to make things work. And when Kelly realized she was expecting again, she thought another baby might actually save her marriage.

“I found out I was pregnant, and I thought, Oh, maybe things will be nice, maybe it will be calm,” Kelly recalls. “But it wasn’t. Things only got more intense.”

The strain at home, Kelly reveals, was made even worse by her husband’s professional troubles.

Embroiled in a set of high-profile lawsuits — including one against Google over the rights to use the online giant’s Gmail brand in Germany — his behavior grew alarmingly erratic, Kelly claims. “He was very litigious,” she says. “He says he’s an entrepreneur, but I think he just sues people. It was very angry [behavior]. I was kind of scared to leave.”

For the sake of Hermés and her unborn daughter, Kelly finally got the strength to leave the marriage. When Helena entered the world, Kelly, her doctor, her midwife and her mom were the only people in the delivery room. “It was great,” Kelly says. “Very peaceful.”

As for her estranged hubby? “I didn’t want him in the room with me,” Kelly tells Life & Style. (Her doctor advised against it too.) “When you’re in labor, you don’t want the man you’re divorcing in there, especially someone who’s said cruel things about you. I was just trying to have a healthy baby through an enormous amount of stress.”

Still, Kelly notes, she didn’t prevent him from seeing his daughter: “She was born at 10 at night, and he saw her the next morning.”

Despite extremely tense relations with her ex, Kelly is flourishing in her new role as a single mom.

Nesting comfortably at home with her two young children, she says she’s at peace. “I’m so excited to have a little boy and a little girl,” Kelly says. “Since I was very young, I’d always wanted kids, so this is a dream come true!”

And she doesn’t think she needs her ex — or any man — to make her family complete.

“A lot of great men, presidents even, were raised [only] by their mothers under those conditions,” she says. “The most important thing is that the children have love and stability in their lives, whether that comes from a mother or a father. [Alone], I can raise them to be much more peaceful.”

Her ex seems to disagree. He’s taken Kelly to court in an attempt to keep her from taking Hermés back to NYC, where Gossip Girl has started filming its third season.

Kelly says he can forget it. “I’m not moving without my kid,” she says firmly. “I’m not doing anything without my son.”

As strong as Kelly is, it’s clear the emotional and financial drain of the legal drama is taking its toll on her and the kids.

“I’m not asking him for anything,” Kelly says. “He never supported me, and I never expected him to. I’m not even asking for child support.” But lawyer fees are costing her children dearly.

“He’s made sure I’ve spent everything I’ve made on lawyers,” Kelly says. “I’ve spent [the kids’] college educations so far. It’s such a waste. If he’s angry, he’s angry — I guess he’s getting it out. But is this really best for the kids? I don’t think so.”

Source: Life & Style — see a fourth photo of Helena at the link!