Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Connie Britton's Shocking 'Nashville' Exit: 'It's Hard for Me to Talk About'

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Photo: CMT
Nashville viewers were devastated by Connie Britton's shocking exit last week -- Hayden Panettiere included. 
During a Friday appearance on The Talk, the 27-year-old actress revealed that Britton's character's death is still hard for her to talk about.
"It's hard for me to even talk about it," Panettiere confessed. "That was also the day that, you know, she's lying in the hospital bed, and her daughters are singing this song for her, and as a mother, the idea of seeing two little girls lose their mom, like, it's hard for me to talk about. It really is."
Last Thursday's episode saw Britton's Rayna Jaymes take her last breath after succumbing to complications from injuries she suffered during a shocking car accident, just as Panettiere's character, Juliette Barnes, started walking again following a horrific plane crash. 
"Oh my gosh, that day was… ugh," Panettiere said.
"I feel like when you have those strange relationships with people in your life that when they go, it's worse, because you feel like you have all those loose ends that you haven't gotten to tie up," she said of Juliette's emotional goodbye to her old nemesis, Rayna. "I say to her, and you know, I say to her, 'All I ever wanted was for you to be proud of me.' And it was that moment where finally the truth came out, how much I respected her, and how much I looked up to her."
Panettiere wasn't the only one affected by the heartbreaking goodbye. Britton took to Instagram shortly after the emotional episode to share a heartfelt tribute to her character. 
"Thank you Rayna Jaymes. For your magic and your dignity," she wrote before thanking her co-stars, as well as the show's creators, crew, and the fans who "brought her to life."
"From the depths of my heart, I thank you, for her and for me. It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on," she concluded. "Long live Rayna Jaymes. #RIPRayna."

While Rayna has found her peace, that doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of Britton on Nashville. During an interview on The Late Show on Monday night, the 49-year-old actress said she'd be down to return to the series as Rayna's evil twin. 
See more in the video below.