Hayden Panettiere Shares Her Struggle With Opioid and Alcohol Addiction

Hayden Panettiere opened up for the first time about her past struggles with opioids and alcohol: "I'd think I hit rock bottom, but then there's that trap door that opens."

By Kisha Forde Jul 06, 2022 3:12 PMTags
Watch: Hayden Panettiere Shares Past Alcohol & Opioid Addictions

Hayden Panettiere has found the peace she's yearned for in her journey to sobriety.
The 32-year-old recently opened up about her past struggles with alcoholism and an opioid addiction. "I was on top of the world and I ruined it," she told People. "I'd think I hit rock bottom, but then there's that trap door that opens."
The former child star said she was just 15 when someone offered her "happy pills" before walking red carpets. "They were to make me peppy during interviews," she recalled. "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."
And while she struggled personally, professionally, she was thriving, landing the starring role in Heroes at just 16. "My saving grace is that I couldn't be messy while on set and working," she explained. "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."

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Come 2014, she announced she was expecting a baby with then-boyfriend Wladimir Klitschko and her pregnancy was written into her show, Nashville. But, as Hayden recalled, the storylines unexpectedly mirrored more of her real life than viewers really knew.

Franziska Krug/Getty Images

"Those were really tough years," the actress, who gave birth to the mom to 7-year-old Kaya said. "I could relate to a lot of those storylines like the alcoholism and postpartum depression. They hit close to home."

Hayden, who has been open about her experience with postpartum depression, continued, "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 color in my life."

Ultimately, she sought treatment for her depression but kept her struggle with alcohol to herself, and her almost nine-year relationship with Wladimir fell apart in the process. "He didn't want to be around me," she shared. "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."


By 2018, she said she would "have the shakes" when she woke up and "could only function with sipping alcohol." It was then she decided to have her daughter live with Wladimir in Ukraine as she worked on recovering. "It was the hardest thing I ever had to do," she shared. "But I wanted to be a good mom to her—and sometimes that means letting them go."
She eventually entered rehab for eight months and credits the treatment process with helping her "get over the hump" of her addiction. She has since completed trauma therapy and inpatient treatment.
"This hasn't been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs," she noted. "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."

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