The actress opens up about her struggles with addiction in a new interview.
Hayden Panettiere is speaking out about her secret struggle with opioids and alcohol addiction. The 32-year-old actress opens up in a new interview with People and shares that in the past year she has underwent both trauma therapy and inpatient treatment.
"I was on top of the world and I ruined it," she says, noting that she also suffered from postpartum depression following the birth of her now 7-year-old daughter, Kaya, whom she shares with ex Wladimir Klitschko. "I'd think I hit rock bottom, but then there's that trap door that opens."
"I put a lot of work into myself and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest," Panettiere adds of seeking help. "This hasn't been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs, but I don't regret even the ugliest things that have happened to me. I feel incredibly accomplished. And I feel like I have a second chance."
Panettiere says she was only 15 when a member of her team started to give her "happy pills" to make her "peppy during interviews" on 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 says.
"My saving grace is that I couldn't be messy while on set and working," Panettiere recalls. "But things kept getting out of control [off set]. And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn't live without."
Panettiere starred as troubled Juliette Barnes in the hit ABC drama Nashville, and says it's a role in which she "could relate to" because the "storylines like the alcoholism and postpartum depression." She adds that her time on the show were some "really tough years."
Despite seeking help for her depression, Panettiere says she was still struggling. "I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn't want to spend any time with her," she explains. "There was just this gray color in my life."
As for her relationship with Klitschko, she shares, "He didn't want to be around me. I didn't want to be around me. But with the opiates and alcohol I was doing anything to make me feel happy for a moment. Then I'd feel worse than I did before. I was in a cycle of self-destruction."
"I would have the shakes when I woke up and could only function with sipping alcohol," she recalls of her lowest point before detailing her 2018 decision to send Kaya to Ukraine to live with Klitschko. "It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But I wanted to be a good mom to her — and sometimes that means letting them go."
Panettiere went on to share that after she was hospitalized for jaundice, doctors told her that her "liver was going to give out." She later spent eight months in rehab, which she says gave her the tools she needed to "get over the hump" of her addiction.
"It's an everyday choice, and I'm checking in with myself all the time," Panettiere says. "But I'm just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again."
Panettiere has not only returned to acting where she's set to reprise her role of Kirby Reed in the upcoming Scream 6 film, but in March, she also founded Hoplon International, a charity which raises funds for Ukraine amid its war with Russia.