Hayden Panettiere says she was addicted to opioids and alcohol

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Hayden Panettiere says she was addicted to opioids and alcohol

Hayden Panettiere found herself on a downward spiral during her acting career and turned to drugs and alcohol.

The 32-year-old ‘Heroes’ actress revealed she had a secret addiction to opioids and suffered from alcoholism and postpartum depression.

“I was on top of the world and I ruined it,” she recently told People. “I thought I hit rock bottom, but then this trapdoor opens.”

Panettiere shares a daughter, Kaya, 7, with her ex Wladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian boxer, and after years of public drama sought help with her health struggles for the good of her family.

“I put a lot of work into myself and had to be willing to be incredibly honest,” she revealed.

The Nashville graduate has been attending both trauma therapy and inpatient treatment for the past year to aid in her healing. She’s even poised for a career comeback with Scream 6, in which she portrays her character from the teen horror franchise Kirby Reed.

Panettiere explained how her sobriety “wasn’t easy.”

“There were a lot of ups and downs,” she says. “But I don’t regret even the ugliest things that have happened to me. I feel incredibly fulfilled. And I feel like I have a second chance.”

Panettiere opened up about her drug and alcohol struggles in a new profile in People magazine.
Nolwen Cifuentes

The mother-of-one also recalled how her camp gave her “happiness pills” as a teenage child star before attending red carpet events.

“You should give me a pep talk for job interviews,” Panettiere recalled. “I had no idea this was not appropriate or what door would open for me when it came to my addiction.”

She then noted that her Hollywood career grew even though she was on her drug and alcohol strings. “My salvation is not being able to be messy on set and at work,” said the Ice Princess actress. “But things kept getting out of control [off set]. And as I got older, drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.”

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Panettiere began dating Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko in 2009 and they share a 7-year-old daughter named Kaya.
Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan

After landing her role as country singer Juliette Barnes on “Nashville” in 2012, her postpartum depression hit and her alcohol addiction worsened. Her pregnancy was also written into the musical drama series.

“Those were really tough years,” recalls Panettiere. “I could relate to a lot of those storylines like alcoholism and postpartum depression. They struck near home.”

She later began a relationship with Klitschko, now 46, in 2009 and said her courtship faltered when she snuck off drinking. “He didn’t want to be near me,” she said. “I didn’t want to be around me. But with the opiates and the alcohol, I did whatever it took to feel happy for a moment. Then I would feel worse than before. I was in a cycle of self-destruction.”

NBC Press Tour July 2007 -- "All Star Party"
“I was on top of the world and I ruined it,” said the Nashville graduate. “I thought I hit rock bottom, but then this trapdoor opens.”
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Her drinking increased and she was hospitalized with jaundice and her liver was on the verge of “giving up”. She later sent Kaya to Klitschko in Ukraine so that she could get better.

Panettiere has mostly stayed out of the spotlight in recent years due to her ongoing issues with boyfriend Brian Hickerson, who she has been dating since 2018.

The couple got into an on-camera fight in March after getting drunk at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, California.

The couple got into a previous physical altercation in Los Angeles in May 2019, which resulted in Hickerson being arrested for domestic violence offenses. He was then ordered to stay 100 meters from Panettiere. However, the case was dismissed in October of that year and Hickerson was arrested again and charged with domestic battery in 2020.

The former child star also went into rehab for eight months and praised her program for giving her the tools to “get over the hump” of her addiction.

“It’s an everyday decision and I check in with myself all the time,” Panettiere said. “But I’m just so grateful to be a part of this world again and I’ll never take it for granted again.”

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