Hayden Panettiere revealed that she previously had an alcohol and opioid addiction that “went so much out of control” that she “couldn’t live without it.”
Panettiere, who was thrust into the limelight at age 11, told People magazine that she was first offered “happy pills” before walking the red carpet when she was 15 years old.
“They would make me peppy during interviews,” she told the outlet. “I had no idea this wasn’t appropriate, or what door it would open for me when it came to my addiction.”
The “Heroes” actress explained that throughout her career, she continued to drink heavily and occasionally take opioids.
“My saving grace is that I couldn’t be messy while I was on set and working,” said Panettiere. “But it kept getting out of hand [off set]† And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.”
Panettiere, 32, who struggled with severe postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Kaya, began to relate to the hardships of her “Nashville” character.
“These were really tough years,” she says. “I could relate to a lot of those storylines, like alcoholism and postpartum depression. They hit close to home.”
Despite seeking treatment for her depression, the “Remember the Titans” star continued to turn to alcohol to cope with the rigors of parenthood.
“I never felt like I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend time with her,” says Panettiere, who didn’t drink during her pregnancy but fell off the wagon after Kaya was born. “There was just this gray color in my life.”
Her addiction problems caused the demise of her relationship with Wladimir Klitschko, who “didn’t want to be near her”. In the end, she made the heartbreaking decision to send their daughter to him in Ukraine.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” she said. “But I wanted to be a good mom to her — and sometimes that means I have to let them go.”
Panettiere’s nadir hit when she was hospitalized for jaundice as her liver began to fail.
“Doctors told me my liver would fail,” she recalls. “I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce back.”
The “Scream 6” star went into rehab for eight months and credits her long stay for giving her the tools to “get over the hump” of her addictions.
“It’s a daily choice, and I’m preoccupied with myself all the time,” she said. “But I’m just so grateful to be a part of this world again, and I’ll never take it for granted again.”