In this week's episode of Red Table Talk, the actress, 33, opens up to co-hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris and guest host Kelly Osbourne about the custody of her only child and how she believes the situation may result in "trauma" when Kaya is older.
Panettiere, whose daughter went to live with her dad when she was almost 3 years old, recalls a conversation with Kaya that to her sounded like a "cry for help."
"I also remember her dad [Klitschko] calling me and telling me Kaya's going around and asking other women if she can call them mommy," Panettiere shares. "My breath hitched and my heart stopped, and he was laughing. He thought this was funny and it was horrifying to me."
"He didn't get it as opposed to me who saw that's a trauma reaction," she explains. "That's a cry for help."
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"I said immediately can I talk to my daughter, and when I asked her about it she went into goo-goo ga-ga speak, like just talking gibberish. I never before heard her do that," the actress continues. "It was a trauma that she was experiencing, me not being around."
"As much as I have tried to explain how much she needs her mom and how it's going to rear its ugly head when she's older later and it could turn into anger, depression, sadness, but it's going to be trauma," says Panettiere. "You can explain it to someone who doesn't understand that concept or believe it until you're blue in the face."
Speaking about Kaya, Panettiere says her daughter is "an incredibly strong child."
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"Going through the situation between Ukraine and Russia has been really scary in so many ways," she says.
"She's a very stoic child," the Nashville star adds. "When she really gets hurt, you can see her try to hold it back, really hold it in and be like 'I'm fine,' and dust it off and not want to be held."
Elsewhere in the episode, the mom of one notes that the way the custody decision about Kaya was made was "very upsetting."
"You thought this was an agreement that you came to that it was best that your daughter be with her dad," Banfield Norris asks the actress to clarify.
"At first it was not because it wasn't a discussion," Panettiere explains. "If [Klitschko] had come to me and said I think because of where you're at right now and your struggles that you're having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while — which if I had probably had enough of a conversation I would've said okay that makes sense, I get it, I'll come there to visit and stuff like that."
"I was gonna go work on myself, I was gonna get better, and when I got better then things would change and she could come to me and I could have my time with her but that didn't happen," she adds.
The Facebook Watch original series Red Table Talk airs Wednesdays at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET. New episodes stream weekly.