‘I Was in a Cycle of Self-Destruction’
“There was just this gray color in my life,” the actress tells PEOPLE about years spent battling substance dependency on top of a devastating bout with postpartum depression.
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.
“I was on top of the world and I ruined it,” the former Nashville star, 32, says in the new issue of PEOPLE. She spent years battling her addiction, as well as a devastating bout with postpartum depression. “I’d think I hit rock bottom, but then there’s that trap door that opens.”
Eventually, Panettiere — who shares a 7-year-old daughter, Kaya, with her ex, Wladimir Klitschko — was determined to get help. “I put a lot of work into myself and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest,” says the actress, who underwent both trauma therapy and inpatient treatment within the last year. Now she’s returned to set to reprise her fan-favorite character Kirby Reed in the next Scream film, and she’s pouring her heart into her work with Hoplon International, the charity she founded in March whose mission it is to raise funds for Ukraine as the country endures its fifth month of war with Russia.