Hayden Panettiere just opened up about her dark past, which included opioid and alcohol addiction and continuously finding herself in abusive relationships. In an exclusive interview with People, the Nashville actress revealed just how hard her life has been.
“I was on top of the world, and I ruined it,” said Panettiere. “I’d think I hit rock bottom, but then there’s that trap door that opens.”
Panettiere looks back on her life and describes a “cycle of self-destruction” that nearly killed her.
Panettiere Became Hooked On Opioids At Age 15
She was first given illegal pharmaceuticals, coined “happy pills,” at the age of fifteen. They were offered to her from someone on her team in order to make her more alert and “peppy” before interviews and walking red carpets.
“I had no idea that this was not an appropriate thing, or what door that would open for me when it came to my addiction,” she told People.
Panettiere was addicted to opioids and alcohol by the time she was sixteen and starring in Heroes as the indestructible Claire Bennet. While staying busy kept her from being “messy” on set, she eventually found herself waking up with the jitters if she didn’t drink.
“Things kept getting out of control,” she admitted. “And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.”
The starlet eventually sought out professional help, but things got worse. She was hospitalized with jaundice from alcoholism.
She Sent Her 3-Yr-Old To Ukraine To Live With Her Dad
Panettiere also sent her now 7-year-old daughter, Kaya, to Ukraine to go live with her father in 2018. Panettiere and Kaya’s father had already broken up in the midst of her substance abuse problems and she was struggling with postpartum depression. (And yes, Kaya was there at least as of February, in the midst of the Russian invasion).
That same year, Panettiere began dating Brian Hickerson and the two had an on-off abusive relationship. Panettiere ended up getting a restraining order on Hickerson following domestic violence charges which were dropped. They got back together, and he was again charged with domestic violence (eight counts) in 2020.
Panettiere attributes the choice to be in a toxic relationship with her substance abuse problems.
She’s recently sober after going through months of inpatient treatment and trauma therapy. Panettiere is getting ready to return to the Scream franchise and staying single. She also founded Hoplon International, which collects global donations for the frontlines of Ukraine.
You can find out more about Hoplon International here.
Read the full interview on People here.