Hayden Panettiere’s emotional confession: ‘It was the bottle and me’
Hayden Panettiere reveals her past addiction to alcohol and drugs in a new interview. In addition, the mother of a daughter talks about her postnatal depression.
Hayden Panettiere landed her first recurring role on US TV when she was just five years old, on the series Love, Lies, Passion. Four years later, she appeared on the big screen alongside Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in the rom-com Love in Every Relationship. The sweet, blonde girl became known in no time at all and blossomed into a child star. In a new interview with “People” magazine, Panettiere described the time as “terrible”: “I wouldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy.”
At the age of 13 she went to parties where she was served alcohol. The people they were there with didn’t protect them, they were drunk themselves. At that time she still had a life away from the film world and her friends did not behave like that. “I knew when I was 12 or 13 that that was too much for a child.” But she tried to adapt to this different world. When she was 15, there was someone around her who gave her “lucky pills.” “At the time I had no idea what drugs were, what addiction meant,” said the 32-year-old.
This conflict between the different worlds would have meant that Hayden Panettiere no longer knew where she belonged. “I’ve seen other people ‘medicate’ themselves with alcohol and then you try it and it works,” she said. In addition to alcohol, there was occasional use of opiates. The pattern of behavior crept in over time. And as she got older, she almost couldn’t live without it. “It was the bottle and me.”
Hayden Panettiere suffered from postnatal depression: ‘I didn’t want to be with my child’
In 2012, Panettiere landed the role of Juliette Barnes on the TV series Nashville. It seemed like the screenwriters used the actress as a model for the character. “I was caught up in this show 10 months a year, 12 to 20 hours a day in this very dramatic character who was going through the same things that I was going through in real life.” Because both shared a love of music, as well as alcohol addiction and postnatal depression. In 2104, Panettiere became pregnant with world boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and gave birth to daughter Kaya in December of that year. But instead of wallowing in the happiness of the baby afterwards, they are overcome by bad feelings. Just like Juliette on screen after the birth of her child, the actress can’t stand it with her child. “I never felt like I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to be with her either. It was just gray in my life.”
In the interview, the actress also talks about the end of her relationship with the younger Klitschko brother: “He didn’t want me around him. I didn’t want me around me. But with opiates and alcohol, I did everything I could for a moment to be happy. Then I felt more terrible than before. I was in a circle of self-destruction.” In 2018 she made the decision to send her daughter to her father in Ukraine. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I wanted to be a good mother to her – and sometimes that means letting go.”
Thanks to a stay in the clinic, the “Nashville” star is finally satisfied
Eventually, she sought help and spent eight months in rehab. The therapy literally tore her open and put her back together again. She recognized the trauma that was at the heart of her illness. “I had to take everything apart and it brought back memories that I had been suppressing.” But the work was worth it, because in the clinic she felt satisfied for the first time. “I realized that today I have a choice, to laugh, to have fun.”
After four years, Hayden Panettiere will return to the big screen next year. “I’m very excited,” the actress explained, a smile spreading across her face.