The actress graces the new cover of Elle Romania, reflecting on her early start as a model, big break on Gossip Girl and where her career is headed next – along with her widely publicized fight to bring her two kids back to the United States from Monaco, where they've been living with their father, German businessman Daniel Giersch, since 2012.
"Children need both parents," she tells the magazine. "You do not want to make them suffer. I hope that this story be an example to others. ... Now, I want them to be happy, to know that they are loved. No matter how long it takes this, I want them to know the truth."
This winter, a Monaco judge ruled that Rutherford, 46, can no longer bring son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, to the United States for visits. The decision stems from the star's refusal to send the youngsters home from New York after their summer vacation because both California and N.Y.C. courts declined jurisdiction over her case.
"If I put them on a plane, I realized I may never see them again," she told PEOPLE exclusively at the time.
In the Elle article, Rutherford recalls her own parents' divorce and how she realized if her mother was happy, "everything was okay in the world."
"I know that if I find my peace, they will benefit," she says of Hermes and Helena. " talk about love because I hope that is what will make them stronger. When all this is over, I hope that they will look back and have the impression that it was not as bad as it was, actually. I do not want them to feel everything. There are good people and generous and funny."
Moving forward, Rutherford says she hopes to use her story to raise political awareness of cases like hers and continue to work with her advocacy organization, the Children's Justice Campaign.
"Perhaps activists will increase because of this situation," she says. "I hope that something good will come of it."
She also shared her Elle cover on Instagram, captioning the glamorous shot, "So excited to be on the cover of @elleromania this month! And to work with such an amazing, fun, creative team! "