Tragic Details About Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere has had a life and career most people could only dream of. The star really caught the public's attention when she landed the role of Claire Bennet on "Heroes" ("Save the cheerleader, save the world," you know the one) and has since gone on to land herself a number of big roles. One of the most notable? Playing fictitious music sensation Juliette Barnes, one of the lead characters in the country music drama series "Nashville" alongside Connie Britton's Rayna James, while you may also recognize her as Kirby in "Scream 4."

But it might actually be Paenettiere's life outside the spotlight that fans have been most intrigued by. The star has had her fair share of ups as well as plenty of downs since shooting to fame, something she herself has acknowledged more than once. 

Panettiere has been pretty vocal about a number of the bigger issues that have reared their ugly heads in her life, from being the victim of domestic abuse to dealing with postnatal depression. "I felt like a phoenix, and I crashed and burned and chose to rise from the ashes and take the positive lesson I can learn from it," she explained to Australia's TV Week in May 2017 of how she dealt with the latter. "I feel stronger because of it." Here are the tragic details about Hayden Panettiere.

Hayden Panettiere's depression

Hayden Panettiere has been extremely open about her experiences with mental health issues, namely how she struggled with experiencing postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter Kaya in 2014. Panettiere got candid about what she experienced on "Live with Kelly and Michael" in September 2015, saying that "women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal." She continued, "There's a lot of misunderstanding. There's a lot of people out there who think that it's not real, that it's not true, that it's something that's made up in their minds," but noted, "It's really painful and it's really scary and women need a lot of support."

A month later, her rep confirmed she'd entered a rehab facility. Speaking about the experience to Yahoo! in March 2016, she admitted she was "terrified" of not being accepted after going public with her struggles, but was "tired" of living in fear and was ready to "put it all out there on the table." She entered rehab for a second time in May 2016, tweeting that her depression had "impacted every aspect of [her] life," adding, "Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life."

She spoke openly again after completing her second rehab stint on "Good Morning America" in 2017. "I think I'm a better mom because of it because you never take that connection for granted," she admitted.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The miles between Hayden Panettiere and Kaya Klitschko

Hayden Panettiere and her daughter, Kaya Klitschko, have a lot of miles between them. And we mean a lot, as Kaya spent much of her childhood in her dad, Wladimir Klitschko's, custody in his native country. 

Of course, being so far away from her daughter comes with its own challenges, with a source telling People in July 2019 that Panettiere's "life is in flux with her daughter living away," though a lawyer for the star claimed they still saw one another "regularly."

That report came five months after Us Weekly claimed that Panettiere "hasn't had much time" with her daughter. An insider alleged that because of her tumultuous personal life, likely a reference to her troubles with Brian Hickerson, the star knew "the child being with her is not best for" Kaya, while describing it as being "a sad situation." Radar doubled down on that that same month, claiming Panettiere didn't see Kaya over the Holidays while describing things as "heartbreaking and challenging."

Panettiere herself opened up in May 2017 about how hard it was being away from her little girl, telling Australia's TV Week, "She changes not only weekly, but daily, hourly. Because Wladimir and I don't live in the same country sometimes, there'll be maybe a week that I don't see her. And then when I see her, it's like night and day."

The tough post-breakup period

Hayden Panettiere appeared to go through a tough time following her split with her former fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko, and barely left the tabloid gossip columns as she appeared to head out and party. Snaps of Panettiere appearing to be intoxicated and vomiting during a night out were published by Radar in August 2018, with the outlet alleging that a bar had refused to serve her because she had already had too many. However, her mom, Lesley Vogel, defended her, telling Radar that same month, "It's been hard for her, she needs a break."

Two months later, a source alleged that her apparent ongoing wild ways had her family and friends "worried," claiming to Life & Style that Panettiere had "been drinking too much and acting out." They also claimed that Klitschko had been "a calming influence on her" when they were together and her nearest and dearest were concerned that she seemed "to be losing control" following their split.

Panettiere previously admitted that she'd grown up with alcohol in her life. She told British outlet Now (via Digital Spy) in 2010 that she first had a drink when she was only eight years old, explaining, "I was raised Italian and we always had diluted glasses of red wine at dinner time ... It wasn't ever something bad." She also said at the time that, as an adult, she only had the "occasional" drink.

Brian Hickerson's domestic violence arrest

Another of the darkest times in Hayden Panettiere's life came in the wake of her split with Wladimir Klitschko, when she embarked on a new romance with Brian Hickerson in August 2018 — but things quickly turned toxic.

May 2019 saw Hickerson arrested for domestic violence, with Radar claiming the two got into what LAPD described as a "physical and verbal argument." Panettiere's mom, Lesley Vogel, spoke about the incident to Radar, claiming she was "in shock," but the two appeared to downplay the drama as they were snapped holding hands two weeks later (via E!). Hickerson was charged with domestic violence later that month, but pleaded not guilty. A protective order was put in place, meaning he couldn't contact or come within 100 yards of her (via Radar).

Sadly, that wasn't the end. Hickerson was arrested again, this time on Valentine's Day 2020, for allegedly punching Panettiere, per Us Weekly. Panettiere got a restraining order the following July and confirmed she was a victim of domestic abuse, telling Us Weekly she was "prepared to do [her] part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again." August 2020 bought rumors Hickerson hadn't left his ex alone though, before he was sentenced to 45 days in prison in April 2021.

Following his release, he and Panettiere were spotted spending time together on multiple occasions (including July 2021 and September 2021), but have stayed quiet about the status of their relationship.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Hayden Panettiere's parental struggles

Sadly, Hayden Panettiere's experiences with domestic abuse didn't mark the first time such violence has entered her life. In August 2008, Hayden's dad, Alan Panettiere, was arrested for allegedly hitting her mom, Lesley Vogel, with a sheriff telling People that a man only identified as a father "got upset and struck the mother in the face one or two times on the left cheek which caused some bruising."

TMZ alleged that the incident happened during a charity event hosted by their daughter at a restaurant, alleging that Alan supposedly saw Lesley "hanging" with an unknown person at the party and he felt she was "disrespecting" him. He was arrested the following month, per TMZ, and was sentenced in January 2009. Alan did not receive jail time, but TMZ claimed he pleaded no contest to the chargers and was punished with 24 months probation, $400 in fines, and was also forced to attend domestic violence counseling.

Hayden doesn't appear to have publicly commented on the incident between her parents, though her rep told People immediately following the altercation that it was a "private" matter.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

A bitter divorce

Hayden Panettiere had a lot to deal with when her parents got divorced, as the two fought it out in a lengthy court battle that didn't seem all that amicable. It's thought the two split around 2008 (the same time as the domestic violence allegations hit the headlines), with a 19-year-old Panettiere reported to have been caught in the middle of her parents

Hayden appeared to support both, offering her mom, Lesley Vogel, a place to stay rent-free, according to TMZ. That decision came after Vogel claimed in court documents that Hayden's dad, Alan Panettiere, had only paid her four months of spousal support over three years. Hayden also had her dad's back, though, with the documents claiming that the "Heroes" actor had allegedly given her dad $100,000.

In 2016, the two finally settled the terms of their divorce, with TMZ claiming that Alan had to pay back his daughter the $100,000 sum she gave him, as well as $5,000 a month to his former wife for a total of five years. The lengthy battle no doubt wasn't the easiest time for anyone involved — including Hayden and her brother, Jansen Panettiere.

However, it looks like everyone has since moved on from the drama. In 2020, Hayden revealed via Instagram that her dad had remarried "a few years" prior as she shared a family photo from their wedding day, calling her new stepmom "amazing."

The Ukrainian war horror

The world watched on in horror in February 2022 when Ukraine was invaded by Russia, but Hayden Panettiere actually had a very personal connection to the European country which made things that much more painful.

Of course, Panettiere was engaged to Wladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian native who still lives in the country. His brother, Vitali Klitschko (who's also a former professional boxer), is actually the mayor of the capital city, Kyiv. The Klitcschko brothers appeared on social media together and vowed to take arms and fight off the Russian army themselves, which we have no doubt left Panettiere concerned for the safety of the father of her daughter.

Panettiere shared her heartache on Instagram, posting a snap on February 25 of herself and her former fiancé meeting with Ukranians alongside a heartfelt caption. "I have personally witnessed the strength of the Ukrainian people who fought so hard for their independence and have continued to passionately defend their country over the years. What Putin is doing is an absolute disgrace!" she wrote. Panettiere also replied to a comment from a concerned fan on Instagram, confirming that her daughter Kaya was "safe" and not in the country when war broke out.

Panettiere showed her support for the country and its future multiple times before the war, even attending and speaking out at protests in Kyiv back in 2013 alongside Wladimir.

Hayden Panettiere's body image struggles

Hayden Panettiere has been very open about her struggles with her own body, bravely sharing how being in the spotlight once influenced the way she thought and felt about herself. The star made the very candid confession in a September 2012 interview with Women's Health, sharing where she believed her issues stemmed from.

Panettiere recalled seeing a photo of herself in a tabloid when she was 16 years old with the word "cellulite" on it. She admitted she "was mortified" and had "such body dysmorphia for so long" afterwards, though she also revealed how she worked hard to overcome her negative thoughts. "I remember reminding myself that beauty is an opinion, not a fact. And it has always made me feel better," she said. The star went on to describe eating healthy as a "constant battle," sharing, "I find when I'm overly concerned about what I eat, I stress out my body and put on weight."

Panettiere since appears to have gotten herself on a better path, admitting she didn't worry too much about her body after welcoming her daughter, Kaya, into the world. "You go through the, 'I'm not going to eat,' 'I'm not going to eat this,' 'I'm not going to eat that,' Part of [losing the weight] is mind, body and spirit. Spirit's a huge part of it, so being happy and being content [helps]," she told People in December 2020.