Hayden Panettiere is bringing her story to the Red Table.
The Nashville alum didn't hold back during the Sept. 28 episode of Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk, which saw Kelly Osbourne guest host alongside co-hosts Jada Pinkett-Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Speaking with the trio, the actress left no topic untouched as she got candid about her past struggles with addiction, the pressures of fame and misconceptions surrounding her custody situation with ex Wladimir Klitschko over their 7-year-old daughter Kaya.
"I've never been this brutally honest about myself or my personal life," she confessed. "There's just something freeing about being yourself."
And as someone who landed her first Hollywood gig when she was just a baby, the 33-year-old had plenty to say about her life in the spotlight. "There are things that I haven't spoken about that I haven't had the guts to speak about," she said. "Just being here today...it's healing."
Read on for the biggest bombshells dropped in her Red Table Talk chat.
Hayden Panettiere Details Her First Drug Experience
The former child star said she was just 16, at the height of her Heroes fame, when someone in her inner circle offered her a "happy pill" to keep her energy up for a red carpet appearance. "I didn't think of it at the time as a bad thing," she said. "It must've been something similar to Adderall, but they had got it from Mexico."
Soon, Hayden said she began asking for the pills "for personal use."
"It did give me that bit of energy," she remembered. "I didn't feel high or out of control, but I did feel happy."
Hayden Panettiere Struggled With Alcohol After Welcoming Kaya
While suffering from postpartum depression, Hayden said she "did what I had seen family and the people around me do whenever they were depressed or stressed out, which was reach for a bottle." But, according to the star, the alcohol only made her depression "that much worst."
"I feel like people saw me struggling a lot, it was pretty obvious," Hayden said, "and still nobody came and asked questions."
Hayden Panettiere Went to Rehab When Kaya Was 4 Months Old
According to the actress, she entered treatment for alcohol addiction multiple times, with her longest stint being eight months. "I wanted to fix myself because I was just leaning on that crutch," she said, noting she did relapse in between rehab stays. "I wasn't somebody who was a binge drinker and got hammered. It was a slow trickle."
Calling alcohol an "instant gratification" to her problems at the time, Hayden continued, "It was reliable, but it was also the devil."
How Nashville Affected Hayden Panettiere's Addiction Struggles
For Hayden, Nashville was a "tough show to be on" during the height of her addiction because her character's troubled storyline mimicked her own struggles. "I had to go to work everyday and be acting out what I was truly going through, so by the time I got home, I didn't want to sit there with my own feelings and worked them out," she explained. "I just wanted to escape."
However, when the TMC series ended in 2018, Hayden said she found herself "leaning on that bottle" more because she had "nowhere to be."
"It was bad," she recalled. "I couldn't stop. I was stuck in this horrifying nightmare."
Hayden Panettiere Says Giving Up Custody of Kaya "Wasn't Fully My Decision"
"In fact, I didn't know it was happening until she was over there," Hayden said, adding she would've understood the intentions behind the move had Wladimir, who is based in Ukraine, "had enough of a conversation" with her beforehand. "Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting."
She continued that signing over custody of Kaya was "the worst," calling it "the most heartbreaking thing I've ever, ever had to do in my life."
E! News has reached out to Wladimir's rep for comment but hasn't heard back.
Where Hayden Panettiere Stands With Wladimir Klitschko
Despite the way their custody situation unfolded, Hayden still believes Wladimir is a "fantastic father" to their daughter.
"I have a lot of respect for him," she said. "We were together for years but, in this case, we definitely don't see eye-to-eye."
The actress added, "I, of course, take responsibility for the role I played. There were certain things I couldn't control, obviously. I wish I had gotten more help than I did."
Hayden Panettiere Shares Concerns Over Kaya's "Trauma"
During her Red Table Talk appearance, Hayden expressed worries that Kaya—who she described as "stoic" but "incredibly strong" for her age—being so far away from her mother will cause "trauma" down the line. The actress recalled how Wladimir once told her that Kaya had been "going around, asking other women if she could call them 'mommy.'"
"That's a trauma reaction. That's a cry for help," Hayden continued, adding that she's concerned Kaya's behavior could "rear its ugly head" later in life. "It's going to be a trauma."
Hayden Panettiere Details Her Current Custody Situation Wladimir Klitschko
While Hayden has been traveling overseas to spend time with Kaya, she said she hasn't "gotten any hints" that the custody situation will change soon.
The star added, "I just have to keep the hope that one day when she's old enough for her opinion to be accepted, that her wants are heard, that there'll be productivity on that side."
Hayden Panettiere Had Morality Clauses in Her Contracts Growing Up
Reflecting on her teenage years, which include a worldwide modeling campaign for Neutrogena, Hayden shared that many of her work contracts then had included a morality clause to ensure that she kept her image "squeaky clean." However, that didn't stop her from dabbling in things she was "technically not supposed to do," Hayden said.
"I remember the first time I was caught smoking cigarette," she recalled, explaining how there were "constant phone calls" about what she contractually couldn't do. "It was tough."
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