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Kelly Rutherford (born Kelly Rutherford Deane on November 6, 1968) is an American actress. She is known for her various television roles, but her common role is as Lily van der Woodsen on The CW series, Gossip Girl.

She currently portrays Claire Hotchkiss in the Freeform series, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.


Her acting career began on daytime soap operas in 1987 after she appeared on Loving. She was later was cast as a regular on Generations which she appeared on from 1989 to 1991. In 1992 she joined the cast of the ABC drama Homefront.

From 1993 to 1994, Rutherford was a regular on the Fox series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. as Dixie Cousins, a saloon singer and con artist who has a brief romantic encounter with Brisco. In later episodes, Dixie becomes Brisco's primary love interest.

She also appeared in the film I Love Trouble. She also starred in the short-lived series The Great Defender as Frankie Collet (1995), and in Kindred: The Embraced as Caitlin Byrne (1996). In 1996, Rutherford joined the cast of Fox primetime soap opera Melrose Place, as Megan Lewis. She starred on the show until 1999.

She also starred as Christine Hamilton in the horror film Scream 3 (2000). From 2003 to 2004, she starred in the ABC drama Threat Matrix as Special Agent Frankie Ellroy Kilmer.

In 2007, Kelly was announced to be playing the iconic role of Lily Humphrey in the CW series Gossip Girl. The series was based on the hit book series of the same name. She starred alongside Blake Lively and many others. The series ended in 2012, after which, Kelly starred in a number of Lifetime movies. In 2016, Rutherford was cast in the ABC thriller Quantico, playing the recurring role of Laura Wyatt.

In 2018, it was announced that she would be playing the main role of Claire Hotchkiss in the upcoming Freeform drama, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

Also in 2018, she was cast in a recurring role in the CW's 2018 reboot of, Dynasty as Melissa Daniels.

Personal Life

In June of 2001, Kelly married Venezuelan banker, Carlos Tarajano. After six months of marriage, she filed for divorce in January of 2002. In February of 2002, the wedding was featured shortly in the February issue of InStyle magazine.

Five-years later in August 2006, she married her second husband, German businessman Daniel Giersch. She then gave birth to their first child, a son named Hermés Gustaf Daniel Giersch, in October 2006.

Divorce and Custody Battle

On December 30, 2008, while pregnant with their second child, Kelly filed for divorce from Daniel. The former couple subsequently became involved in a child custody dispute over their son and their unborn child. In June of 2009, she gave birth to their second child, a daughter whom they named, Helena. Daniel stated he was not informed of the birth by Kelly and only became aware of his daughters birth through media reports.

In August of 2009, Kelly and Daniel reached a temporary settlement of joint physical custody, which would be in effect until April 2010. Kelly also obtained a temporary restraining order against him in September 2010.

During April of 2012, Daniele's U.S. visa was revoked when Kelly's lawyer informed the State Department about issues pertaining to Giersch's businesses. This led the Department to reach the conclusion that they had sufficient evidence to deport him to his home country of Germany.

It has been reported that the allegations involved fraud or an involvement in drugs and weapons dealing in South America, which was considered terrorism under the Victory Act. Giersch consequently was unable to enter the United States and took up residence in France and Monaco. In May 2012, Rutherford and Giersch's children went to France to spend the summer with their father. Kelly asked the court to grant her sole custody so that she could keep the children primarily in the United States following their visit to France, as the existing joint custody agreement required her to travel frequently to enable Giersch to spend time with the children.

In August 2012, in a widely reported decision, a California Superior Court judge ruled that the 50/50 custody arrangement should remain and that, because Giersch is unable to travel to the United States, the children should live in France with him and attend school there, with Kelly traveling there to visit them. Though Rutherford opposed the decision and requested a stay of proceedings while she appealed, her request was denied and it was ruled that, in two years, his eligibility to enter the United States and the consequent well-being of the children will be reassessed.

In June 2013, Rutherford filed for bankruptcy, stating she had debts of approximately $2 million, primarily due to the $1.5 million she spent on legal fees relating to the divorce and custody dispute with Giersch.

In May 2015, Rutherford was granted temporary sole custody of her children, following a ruling that both her son and daughter be brought back to the United States from Monaco, where they had been living with their father since 2012. On July 23, 2015, a California judge ruled that California did not have jurisdiction over Rutherford's child custody case because she resides in New York, and her ex-husband was again awarded custody.

Rutherford then filed a case in New York but on July 27, 2015, the New York court ruled it also did not have jurisdiction.

In December 2015, the Monaco courts reconfirmed that full custody remained with the children's father, with Rutherford granted extensive visitation rights in France and Monaco as well as shared input regarding, "health, schooling, religious education and any change of residence".



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Shakedown TV watcher
1989 Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge Salesgirl
1992 Breaking the Silence Cheryl Television film
1994 Tis a Gift to Be Simple Emily Hanover Short film
1994 I Love Trouble Kim
1994 Amberwaves Lola Barnes
1996 No Greater Love Edwina Winfield Television film
1996 Buried Secrets Danielle Roff Television film
1997 Six Months of Darkness, Six Months of Light Annie Short film
1997 The Big Fall Veronica Direct-to-video
1997 Dilemma Woman in bar Uncredited
1997 Cyclops, Baby Randy
1998 The Perfect Getaway Julia Robinson Television film
1998 The Disturbance at Dinner Marian Pronkridge
2000 Scream 3 Christine Hamilton
2000 The Chaos Factor Jodi
2001 Acceptable Risk Kim Welles Television film
2001 The Tag Wendy
2002 Angels Don't Sleep Here Kate Porter
2002 Swimming Upstream Sandra Bird
2007 Tell Me No Lies Laura Cooper Television film
2013 A Sister's Nightmare Jane Ryder Television film
2013 The Stream Maggie Terry
2015 Night of the Wild[28] Sara Television film


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Loving N/A Unknown episodes
1989–1991 Generations Stephanie "Sam" Whitmore Unknown episodes
1992 Davis Rules Erika 2 episodes
1992–1993 Homefront Judy Owen Main cast; 21 episodes
1992 Bodies of Evidence Diana Wallace Episode: "Afternoon Delights"
1992 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures N/A Episode: "As the Dude Turns (The Lives That We Live)"
1993–1994 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Dixie Cousins 7 episodes
1995 The Great Defender Frankie Collett Main cast; 8 episodes
1995 Courthouse Christine Lunden 4 episodes
1996 Kindred: The Embraced Caitlyn Byrne Main cast; 7 episodes
1996–1999 Melrose Place Megan Lewis Mancini Main cast (seasons 5–7); 90 episodes
1999–2000 Get Real Laura Martineau 4 episodes
1999 Nash Bridges Roxanne "Roxie" Hill Episode: "Kill Switch"
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Lady Maria Cosway Miniseries
2000 The Outer Limits Rachel Episode: "Nest"
2000–2001 The Fugitive Helen Kimble 3 episodes
2001 Night Visions Marilyn Lanier Episode: "The Passenger List"
2002–2003 The District Deputy Mayor Melinda Lockhart 6 episodes
2003–2004 Threat Matrix Special Agent Frankie Ellroy-Kilmer Main cast; 16 episodes
2005–2006 E-Ring Samantha "Sonny" Liston Main cast; 21 episodes
2007–2012 Gossip Girl Lily van der Woodsen Main cast; 121 episodes
2014 Bones Stephanie McNamara Episode: "The Ghost in the Killer"
2014 Being Mary Jane Cynthia Phillips 4 episodes
2014 Reckless Joyce Reed 4 episodes
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Lisa Hanlon Episode: "The Mystery of the Popped Pugilist"
2016 Quantico Laura Wyatt Recurring role
2016 Jane The Virgin Editor Chapter fifty
2017 Nightcap Herself Episode: "What Would Staci Do?"
2018 Dynasty Melissa Daniels Recurring role
2019 Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists Claire Hotchkiss Main role


  • She runs and owns an exquisite jewelry line titled, "Kelly Rutherford Jewelry". The company has both an adult and a children's line.
  • She studied at HB Studio in New York City, and the Beverly Hills Playhouse in California.
  • She does yoga alongside Lisa Rinna and Marcia Cross.
  • She is close friends with her Gossip Girl co-star, Blake Lively.
  • She has been in a custody battle over her children since 2009.


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