Actress Hayden Panettiere is opening up about her struggles with alcohol and opioid addiction.
In a new tell-all interview with PEOPLE, the former “Nashville” star said that she spent years battling not only her addiction but postpartum depression as well.
Hayden Panettiere: ‘I Was On Top Of The World And I Ruined It’
The 32-year-old actress told the publication “I was on the top of the world and I ruined it,” adding, “I’d think I hit rock bottom, but then there’s that trap door that opens.”
Hayden struggled with addiction for years and was determined to get help, not only for her but also for her 7-year-old daughter, Kaya, who she shares with ex Wladimir Klitschko. In the past year, Hayden confessed that she underwent both trauma therapy and in-patient treatment in the past year.
“I put a lot of work into myself and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest,” she said, adding that her recovery “hasn’t been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs.” She added, “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.”
Hayden Panettiere Reveals Her Addiction Started When She Was Only Fifteen
By the time she was eleven, Hayden had made a name for herself in roles like “Remember the Titans” and in several soap operas. She revealed that someone on her team gave her “happy pills” when she turned fifteen to “make me peppy during interviews.”
“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 explained.
Although Hayden started drinking and taking opioids on occasion, she said that she “couldn’t be messy on set and working,” which helped her land the role of Claire Bennet on “Heroes” when she was only sixteen.
However, set said “things kept getting out of control” when she wasn’t working. “As I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without,” she added.
Hayden Played Troubled Country Singer Juliette Barnes On ‘Nashville’
In 2014, Hayden Panettiere hit her big break starring as a troubled country singer named Juliette Barnes on the TV series “Nashville.” When she became pregnant in real life, it was written into the show. However, Hayden referred to them as “really tough years,” saying, “I could relate to a lot of those storylines like the alcoholism and postpartum depression. They hit close to home.”
After she gave birth, Hayden sought treatment for her postpartum depression, but still found herself struggling and relying on alcohol to cope.
“I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend any time with her,” Hayden said, making it clear that she never drank while she was pregnant. “There was just this gray color in my life.”
She revealed that she started drinking more heavily, which impacted her relationship with Wladimir. Although they started dating in 2009, Hayden said that “he didn’t want to be around me,” adding, “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.”
At one point, Hayden revealed that she had “the shakes” when she woke up and “could only function with sipping alcohol.” In 2018, she sent Kaya to live with her ex in Ukraine, calling it “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,” she added.
Hayden’s drinking got so bad that she was eventually hospitalized for jaundice. “Doctors told me my liver was going to give out,” she recalls. “I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce right back.”
Eventually, Harden entered rehab for eight months, which she said allowed her to “get over the hump” of her addiction. “It’s an everyday choice, and I’m checking in with myself all the time,” she said. “But I’m just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again.”
Looking ahead, Hayden is looking forward to reprising her role as Kirby from “Scream 4” in the upcoming “Scream 6” film. Fans can read more about that here.