Hayden Panettiere has been in the entertainment industry since she was 11; Her breakout role was on NBC’s hit series Heroes. It didn’t take long for the 16-year-old to start attracting hot offers from the Hollywood elite. She began partying heavily, which led to her developing an addiction to pills and alcohol. In fact, the Remember The Titans star revealed in a recent interview with People that she was 15 when she was first given “happy pills” to calm her nerves. “They were supposed to cheer me up for interviews,” Panettiere recalled. “I had no idea this was not appropriate or what door would open for me when it came to my addiction.”
In 2009, she met heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko, per Page Six, and in March 2013, they were engaged. The following year, Panettiere and Klitschko welcomed a daughter, Kaya. However, due to postpartum depression, Panettiere underwent trauma therapy and inpatient treatment in 2015. She explained on Live With Kelly and Michael, “It’s really painful and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support.” Panettiere told Good Morning America that her addiction deepened after her battle with PPD, which eventually led to her and Klitschko quitting. In the best interests of her daughter, the actor made the challenging decision to give Klitschko sole custody of Kaya.
Now clean and sober, Panettiere has once again spoken openly about her relationship with her daughter.
Hayden Panettiere seizes her second chance at motherhood
In a recent interview with People, Hayden Panettiere shared her thoughts on giving her ex-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko full custody of their daughter. “I never felt like I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend time with her,” Panettiere shared. “There was just this gray color in my life.”
Compared to her past, Panettiere’s life today is like day and night. While she’s aware she made the right decision in giving Klitschko custody, she admits it doesn’t make the pain any easier. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Panettiere said. “But I wanted to be a good mother to her – and sometimes that means letting her go.” Kaya lives with Klitschko, who spends most of his time with his family in Ukraine.
Back in February, after Russia began invading, Panettiere made it clear to fans that her daughter was “safe and not in Ukraine,” according to Page Six. However, Klitschko stayed behind to fight against the Russians alongside his brother, the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko. Meanwhile, Panettiere says she feels she’s being given “a second chance” at life and as a mother, and is making the most of every minute. “[Kaya’s] just a great kid,” Panettiere explained in the new interview. “I was just with her. She’s just a great kid. She’s smart and she’s funny and for some reason she still loves me.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration website or contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).