Hayden Panettiere revealed that she previously had an alcohol and opioid addiction that spiraled so far “out of control” that she “couldn’t live without” them.
Panettiere, who was thrust into the spotlight at age 11, told People magazine she was first offered “happy pills” prior to walking red carpets when she was 15 years old.
“They were to make me peppy during interviews,” she told the outlet. “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.”
The “Heroes” actress explained that she continued heavily drinking and occasionally taking opioids in the midst of her career.
“My saving grace is that I couldn’t be messy while on set and working,” Panettiere said. “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.”
Panettiere, 32, who battled severe postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Kaya, began to connect with her “Nashville” character’s hardships.
“Those were really tough years,” she said. “I could relate to a lot of those storylines like the 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 hardships of parenthood.
“I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend any time with her,” said 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 struggles caused the demise of her relationship with Wladimir Klitschko, who “didn’t want to be around” her. Eventually, she made the gut-wrenching decision to send their daughter to live with him in Ukraine.
“It was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” she said. “But I wanted to be a good mom to her — and sometimes that means letting them go.”
Panettiere’s rock bottom hit when she was hospitalized for jaundice because her liver was beginning to fail.
“Doctors told me my liver was going to give out,” she recalled. “I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce right back.”
The “Scream 6” star entered rehab for eight months and credits her lengthy stay for giving her the tools to “get over the hump” of her addictions.
“It’s an everyday choice, and I’m checking in with myself all the time,” she said. “But I’m just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again.”