“Heroes” star Hayden Panettiere felt she “almost couldn’t live without” opioids and alcohol during the peak of a secret battle with addiction, she shared in a personal new interview.
The actress, 32, was just 15 when she was introduced to pills by a member of her team to help energize her before she walked red carpets, she told People in the piece published Wednesday.
She says she was able to balance using drugs and alcohol with her acting career during her youth, but that her struggles with addiction grew as she got older. Her longtime partner, former boxer Wladimir Klitschko, “didn’t want to be around me” amid her issues, she said.
“I didn’t want to be around me,” Panettiere told People. “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.”
Panettiere, who was born in Palisades, Rockland County, said she didn’t drink while pregnant with her daughter, Kaya, now 7, but her issues with alcohol returned after she gave birth in 2014.
Also known for the football film “Remember the Titans” and the country music series “Nashville,” Panettiere has spoken in the past about struggles with postpartum depression, but hadn’t previously detailed her battles with addiction.
She split from Klitschko in 2018. That year, she agreed that Kaya should live with her father in Ukraine, calling the decision the “hardest thing I ever had to do.”
Panettiere said she spent eight months in rehab, and has a positive outlook today.
“I don’t regret even the ugliest things that have happened to me,” Panettiere told People. “I feel incredibly accomplished. And I feel like I have a second chance.”