Hayden Panettiere speaks candidly about her addiction to opioids and alcohol in a new interview with People.
The “Nashville” actress, 32, spent years battling addiction. She then suffered postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter Kaya in 2014.
“I was on top of the world and I ruined it,” Panettiere tells the magazine. “I’d think I hit rock bottom, but then there’s that trap door that opens.”
She says of getting help, “I put a lot of work into myself and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest.”
“This hasn’t been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs,” Panettiere, who shares her daughter with ex Wladimir Klitschko, continues of her journey to sobriety. “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.”
Panettiere, who shot to fame at an early age, reveals how she was offered “happy pills” at age 15 to cope with red carpet appearances.
“They were to make me peppy during interviews,” Panettiere tells the mag. “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.”
For the first time, Hayden Panettiere is opening up about a secret addiction to opioids and alcohol that nearly cost her career — and her life. Watch the full PeopleTV special: https://t.co/zYwJSOKwTN pic.twitter.com/Xcbx6f056n
— People (@people) July 6, 2022
She says, “My saving grace is that I couldn’t be messy while on set and working. But things kept getting out of control [off set]. And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.
“Those were really tough years,” Panettiere, whose real-life pregnancy was written into her role of Juliette Barnes on “Nashville” in 2014, admits. “I could relate to a lot of those storylines like the alcoholism and postpartum depression. They hit close to home.”
Panettiere, who didn’t drink during her pregnancy but did afterwards, says of battling alcoholism: “I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend any time with her. There was just this gray colour in my life.”
She says she’d sneak away to drink and her relationship with Klitschko, whom she began dating in 2009, suffered.
“He didn’t want to be around me,” Panettiere remembers. “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.”
She says of her lowest point, “I would have the shakes when I woke up and could only function with sipping alcohol.”
Panettiere sent Kaya to live with Klitschko in 2018 in Ukraine after the pair called it quits.
“It was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she recalls. “But I wanted to be a good mom to her — and sometimes that means letting them go.”
Panettiere’s drinking got worse and she was hospitalized, suffering from jaundice.
“Doctors told me my liver was going to give out,” she tells the mag. “I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce right back.”
Panettiere eventually entered rehab for eight months, managing to “get over the hump” of her addiction.
“It’s an everyday choice, and I’m checking in with myself all the time,” she reveals. “But I’m just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again.”