Panettiere made the revelation during Wednesday's episode of 'Red Table Talk.'
Hayden Panettiere is getting real about growing up in the spotlight. On Wednesday's episode of Red Table Talk, Panettiere sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and guest host Kelly Osbourne, where she spoke about the lengths her team went to to make sure she was able to keep up with her demanding schedule and rising popularity in Hollywood.
"They came to me, and it was before this red carpet, and I had been doing Heroes, and we did press all the time," the Nashville alum recounted. "And I was a little low energy, and it was, 'Here, take one of these, it's a happy pill. It'll give you energy.'"
Panettiere who was 16 at the time, said back then, she didn't think of it as a bad thing or a drug.
"It must have been something that was similar to an Adderall, but they got it from Mexico," she explained. "I should've thought, 'That's so sketchy,' but I didn't 'cause I trusted the person. And it did give me that little bit of energy. I didn't feel high and out of control, but I did feel happy and like I was looking forward to being interviewed."
She then recalls asking for more of the pills for personal use, but that was shut down after someone else in her circle found out and let her know the real-life implications behind taking the drug on a regular basis.
The pressure was endless, Panettiere recalled, telling the ladies of RTT that paparazzi often hounded her, and even rooted for her downfall.
"Paparazzi would yell at me when I was younger, 'When are you gonna get your first DUI?' and it was always, 'When are you gonna fall on your face and get into alcohol and drugs?' Panettiere shared. "It was like, that was always gonna happen."
Elsewhere in the interview, the 33-year-old actress detailed losing custody of her daughter, Kaya, amid her struggles with depression and addiction. Panettiere shared that she wasn't aware she was losing custody until her now-7-year-old was already with her ex, Wladimir Klitschko, in Ukraine.
While Panettiere acknowledged her struggles with depression and addiction, she said she had never done anything that endangered Kaya.
"I was trying to tell myself that if I'm not OK, if I'm not good, then I cannot be the best mom to you," Panettiere said. "I was going through such a hard time that I knew the most unselfish thing I could do was to make that hard decision and just try to work on myself."
"She was almost three, and it wasn't fully my decision," Panettiere continued of losing custody. "In fact, I didn't even know it was happening until she was already over there."
When Banfield Norris noted, "You thought this was an agreement that you came to that it was best that your daughter be with her dad," Panettiere explained the complicated situation.
"At first it was not because it wasn't a discussion," she said. "If [Klitschko] had come to me and said I think because of where you're at right now and your struggles that you're having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while -- which if I had probably had enough of a conversation I would've said OK that makes sense, I get it, I'll come there to visit and stuff like that."
Panettiere called signing the custody papers "the most heartbreaking thing" she's ever done in her life and said that she didn't expect her current situation.
"Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting," she said. "I mean, it was the worst signing those papers, the most heartbreaking thing I've ever, ever had to do in my life."
See more in the video below: