Hayden Panettiere Shares Rare Update on Brian Hickerson Relationship After His Domestic Violence Offenses

Panettiere said their relationship's contingent on him staying on the straight and narrow.

Hayden Panettiere offered a rare update on where she stands with Brian Hickerson, her on-and-off boyfriend who in 2021 spent time behind bars after pleading no contest to two felony counts of injuring a spouse or girlfriend, in this case Panettiere.

During an interview with The New York Times, the 33-year-old actress is said to have conducted the interview in her Los Angeles condo with Hickerson present, walking around, vacuuming and shooting a basketball through the hoop in her living area. The outlet reported that the actress and Hickerson became sober and later reconnected as friends.

Then, during a photo shoot, The Times reports Panettiere called him "babe" a handful of times. But when asked if they were dating again, the Heroes star was hesitant to define the nature of their relationship, only to say, "There are feelings there, yes."

The outlet also reported that Panettiere does not condone Hickerson's past actions.

"He knows he deserved what happened to him," said the actress in reference to Hickerson being sentenced to 45 days in county jail

In July 2020, Panettiere reported to several police departments multiple serious instances of domestic violence perpetrated by Hickerson during their on-again, off-again relationship, a source told ET. 

That being said, the actress told The Times that "their relationship was 'contingent on him continuing on this road of recovery.'" She added that she's "self-conscious about how people may perceive her letting him back into her life" but that she "did not do any of this lightly."

Following his release from jail, Panettiere and Hickerson were spotted together at a Los Angeles restaurant, where an eyewitness told ET at the time that the two appeared to have "a really good time."

"The two of them were seen line dancing and they chatted with other people at the bar," the eyewitness said. "Days later, they came in again to watch the NBA finals. Brian arrived before Hayden and they hung out at the bar and watched the game. They were friendly and relaxed and not showing any PDA."

Additionally, a source close to Panettiere said at the time that Hickerson was in intensive therapy treatment.