Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko's Relationship Timeline

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Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko's Relationship Timeline

The former couple were on-and-off for nine years and share a daughter

Despite their massive height difference, Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko found common ground when they hit it off at a party in 2008.

The 5'2" actress and the 6'6" Ukrainian boxer — who was formerly the heavyweight champion of the world — started dating a year later.

Related: Former Boxer and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko to Receive Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at 2022 ESPYs

Panettiere and Klitschko dated on and off for nine years, eventually becoming engaged and having a daughter together, Kaya Evdokia Klitschko, born in December 2014. The couple split up for good in 2018, though they appear to be on good terms, with Panettiere calling Klitschko a "wonderful man" in a birthday post on Instagram in 2021 and reposting his updates from Ukraine. Klitschko is a vocal activist for Ukrainian freedom and has been fighting for his country in the war against Russia. (Klitschko's brother Vitaly has been the mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since 2014.)

From their first meeting to how they're co-parenting daughter Kaya, here's everything to know about Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko's relationship.

2008: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko meet

Michael Buckner/Getty
Michael Buckner/Getty

Panettiere recalled to Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013 that she and her future fiancé met at a party for a mutual friend in 2008. Though she was in a relationship at the time, Panettiere said she made the first move, at least in conversation, by saying to him, "You're huge," to which he responded, "You're tiny."

February 17, 2009: Hayden Panettiere ends her relationship with Milo Ventimiglia

Costars on Heroes, Panettiere and Ventimiglia dated from 2007 to 2009, though they kept their relationship as far out of the spotlight as possible. When they split, he was 31 and she was 19. "They lead different lives," a source told PEOPLE.

2009: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko start dating

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

It's not clear when, but at some point afterward in 2009, Panettiere and Klitschko became an item.

May 12, 2011: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko break up for the first time

After roughly two years together, the couple split up in May 2011. ​​"Even though we've decided splitting up is best for both of us, we have an amazing amount of love and respect for each other and remain very close friends," Panettiere said at the time.

"We had a great time together, but it's not that easy to manage a relationship between two continents," Klitschko said in a statement. "I have a lot of respect for Hayden as a person and as a friend, and I believe we'll keep our friendship even after the separation."

February 20, 2013: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko are spotted having lunch

Though Panettiere dated New York Jets wide receiver Scotty McKnight for more than a year following her breakup with Klitschko, she and McKnight ended their relationship in December 2012. Not long after, the actress was spotted in Hollywood, Florida reuniting with the boxer. They were seen having tacos at a local taco shack, and then being affectionate on the beach.

October 9, 2013: Hayden Panettiere confirms she and Wladimir Klitschko are engaged

Jemal Countess/Getty
Jemal Countess/Getty

Panettiere had been seen for months wearing what people speculated was an engagement ring, but the couple didn't confirm the engagement rumors until October, when she appeared on Live! With Kelly and Michael.

"​​There's a very large diamond ring on your ring finger. … I'm not sure if you want to announce anything. Does that signify anything, is that a promise of something?" Ripa asked.

"It might be … I mean, I think it speaks for itself," Panettiere responded.

"Are you engaged?" Ripa replied.

"I am," Panettiere answered.

December 2013: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko buy a home in Nashville

In 2013, Panettiere was starring as Juliette Barnes on Nashville, which was filming in Tennessee. While some costars purchased homes in Music City as soon as production started, she waited to purchase until she was sure the show had staying power. Engaged and planning a wedding, Panettiere and Klitschko decided to purchase a home and put down roots in Tennessee. "He fits in anywhere," she told PEOPLE of her fiancé. "He's a very worldly man!"

December 9, 2013: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko travel to Ukraine

Franziska Krug/Getty
Franziska Krug/Getty

When Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a trade deal with the EU in November 2013, protestors assembled in the capital city of Kyiv. Panettiere and Klitschko traveled to his home country, where his brother Vitaly is mayor of Kyiv, to voice their support to the protestors.

"Your fight is not falling on deaf ears," she told the assembled crowd. "The world will hear you. And as an American I want you to know that I stand by you, I support your fight, and I will support it until the country of Ukraine in its entirety reflects the beauty, the true beauty of Ukrainian people. Keep fighting. I love you all."

February 18, 2014: Hayden Panettiere praises the "normalcy" she and Wladimir Klitschko have in Nashville

"I like being in a place where people appreciate the little things and don't need a lot of stuff to be happy," Panettiere told Southern Living. "Living in Nashville gives me a sense of normalcy that I wasn't sure I was ever going to get back in my life."

March 4, 2014: Hayden Panettiere reveals details of Wladimir Klitschko's proposal

Luca Teuchmann/Getty
Luca Teuchmann/Getty

It was "very sweet and simple and genuine," Panettiere told Brides. "It wasn't about being overwhelmed by fireworks or a mariachi band. I think it's amazing when people do that, but I like that mine was simple and from the heart."

At the time, Panettiere and Klitschko hadn't yet set a date for their wedding, but she had ideas about their big day.

"I have always dreamed of a wedding day!," she told the publication. "Not over the top or crazy, but yeah, I've always thought about it. It's one of those things you have to just cross your fingers and hope everything will go smooth. You will plan and plan and at the end of day you just have to kick back and see what happens."

May 5, 2014: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko put their wedding plans on hold

With Klitschko's family in Ukraine and his brother heavily involved in the country's national politics, he and Panettiere decided to pause their wedding planning until things were more stable in his home country. "Everything that's happening in Ukraine definitely put a hold on things," she told Parade. "But we have time."

June 5, 2014: PEOPLE confirms Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko are expecting

When news broke of the couple becoming expectant parents, Panettiere and Klitschko both kept quiet about the development — but she did talk about wanting to be a mother in an interview with Glamour. "Motherhood is the most beautiful, exciting thing, and there's nothing that I feel like I can't accomplish while having children in my life," Panettiere said.

December 9, 2014: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko welcome baby Kaya

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere in 2016
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere in 2016

On Dec. 9, 2014, Panettiere gave birth to the couple's daughter, Kaya Evdokia. She and Klitschko shared photos of their new family with PEOPLE shortly after the birth, showing intimate moments between the new parents and their newborn.

"He is just so over the moon," Panettiere said of Klitschko. "I'm lucky if I can get my hands on the kid. He's like, 'No, no, I got her.' Which is exactly what I thought he would be like."

2015: Hayden Panettiere undergoes treatment for postpartum depression

"It's something a lot of women experience. When [you're told] about postpartum depression you think it's 'I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child.' I've never, ever had those feelings," she explained on Live! with Kelly and Michael in Sept. 2015. "Some women do. But you don't realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It's something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal."

Shortly afterward, Panettiere traveled to Germany to support Klitschko during a boxing championship. "She's a great fan, great supporter, a great motivator," he told ESPN. In May 2016, Panettiere checked herself into a facility for additional postpartum depression treatment.

July 7, 2016: Hayden Panettiere shuts down rumors of trouble in her and Wladimir Klitschko's relationship

After Panettiere was photographed in New York without her engagement ring, rumors swirled of trouble in her relationship with Klitschko — but she was quick to shut them down, posting a photo of the couple with their then-18-month-old daughter. "Missing rings don't mean the end of relationships," she wrote. "Blessed to be with my beautiful family."

December 2016: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko attend Art Basel Miami

After a family vacation to Jerusalem in November 2016, Panettiere and Klitschko attended several events at Art Basel Miami, where onlookers told PEOPLE the couple seemed happy and in love.

"Hayden loves Wladimir," a source told PEOPLE. "They get along best when they are together. It is frustrating when he has to travel around the world for his career while she needs to be here for hers. That is tough on any couple. But they are happy and love their daughter."

August 3, 2018: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko split

After Panettiere was photographed holding hands with Brian Hickerson at a Los Angeles restaurant, her mother confirmed that her daughter had split from Klitschko.

"There are a lot of changes going on in her life," Panettiere's mother Lesley Vogel told RadarOnline. "She needs to take a little bit of a break and make some decisions on her own of what she wants to do. So I think she is in a very good place." However, Vogel said Panettiere and Klitschko were on good terms and were co-parenting then-three-and-a-half year old Kaya.

Around the same time, with her show Nashville ending after six seasons, Panettiere sold the Nashville home she shared with her former fiancé and relocated to California.

August 16, 2018: A source tells PEOPLE Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko "break up and get back together frequently"

Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty
Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty

Though they had called off their engagement, Panettiere and Klitschko remained involved, according to reports from sources that told PEOPLE they "break up and get back together frequently."

Related: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko Remain 'Together and Very Loving': Sources

"Don't assume Wlad is out of the picture because they aren't seen together," a source close to Panettiere said. "They respect each other and are still very attracted [to each other]. Don't rule this romance out."

October 24, 2018: Hayden Panettiere brings new boyfriend Brian Hickerson to meet her family

By August, however, Panettiere had seemingly moved on with aspiring actor Brian Hickerson.

Though they were rumored to not be in a serious relationship, Panettiere brought her new boyfriend to meet her family in Florida. In May 2021, Hickerson served 13 days in jail after pleading no contest to two felony counts of injuring the actress.

July 2019: A source tells PEOPLE Hayden Panettiere's "life is in flux" after her daughter moved to Ukraine with Wladimir Klitschko

When the pair split, Klitschko and Kaya moved to his home country, Ukraine. Nearly a year after they left, a source spoke to PEOPLE about how the actress was doing while away from Kaya.

"Her life is in flux with her daughter living away, and she has other issues weighing on her mind," the insider said. Panettiere continued to see her daughter regularly, and she still traveled on vacations with Klitschko and their daughter.

December 9, 2020: Hayden Panettiere posts a birthday tribute to her and Wladimir Klitschko's daughter

As Kaya turned six, Panettiere posted a sweet birthday photo of Kaya's birthday cake. "6 years ago today, I met the most amazing (not so little anymore) creature," she posted on Instagram. "Can't believe my baby girl is getting so big!"

February 26, 2022: Hayden Panettiere says Kaya is not in Ukraine during the war

Hayden Panettiere Instagram
Hayden Panettiere Instagram

Speaking out publicly against the war in Ukraine, Panettiere posted a message to her Instagram, saying, "I have personally witnessed the strength of the Ukrainian people who fought so hard for their independence and have continued to passionately defend their country over the years. This horrific moment in history sends a terrifying message: the message that in this day and age, in year 2022, it's okay to violate the rights of free people and allow autocrats like Putin to take whatever they please. I'm praying for my family and friends there and everyone who's fighting. I wish you had more support and I wish I was there fighting with you! For now, I ask for those of us who can't be there to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and show your support for #democracy."

Related: Hayden Panettiere Says 'Friends and Family Are Desperately Trying to Defend Their Way of Life' in Ukraine

In the comments of the post, when someone asked about the whereabouts of her daughter, Panettiere responded, "She's safe and not in Ukraine."

April 22, 2022: Hayden Panettiere posts her support for Wladimir Klitschko's advocacy for Ukraine

While Klitschko was in Ukraine fighting against the Russian invasion, Panettiere helped to spread his messages to her followers. In April 2022, she shared a video of the boxer thanking Hoplon International, the charity she founded in March whose mission is to raise funds for Ukraine, for a donation of medical kits and bulletproof vests.

June 6, 2022: Hayden Panettiere opens up to PEOPLE about her struggle with substance dependency and postpartum depression

On the cover of PEOPLE, Panettiere spoke candidly about hitting "rock bottom" during the height of her fame while battling an addiction to opioids and alcohol along with a bout of postpartum depression.

"I was on top of the world and I ruined it," the actress said, revealing she underwent both trauma therapy and inpatient treatment on her journey to sobriety. Panettiere said she went through a particularly rough patch in 2014 when her real-life pregnancy was written into Nashville. "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, she was still struggling after the birth of her daughter. "I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn't want to spend any time with her," Panettiere recalled, adding that it was around this time that her relationship with Klitschko began to fall apart.

"He didn't want to be around me," she said. "I didn't want to be around me. 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."

After an eight-month stay in rehab, Panettiere said she received the tools she needed to "get over the hump" of her addiction. "It's an everyday choice, and I'm checking in with myself all the time," she shared. "But I'm just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again."

Panettiere also gave an update on her relationship with Kaya, and the heartbreaking decision she made to allow her daughter to move to Ukraine with Klitschko.

"It was the hardest thing I could do," she said. "But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was okay, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her. And sometimes that means letting go."

Panettiere and Klitschko remain in close contact. "We've been working hand-in-hand," she said of their efforts in Ukraine. "He's busy fighting, so every time I get to hear his voice or get a text, it's a relief."

September 28, 2022: Hayden Panettiere reflects on relinquishing custody of daughter to Wladimir Klitschko

Panettiere appeared on Red Table Talk to discuss her custody experience with co-hosts Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris and guest host Kelly Osbourne.

In 2018, Klitschko received full custody of their daughter, Kaya, amid the Nashville star's battle with addiction to alcohol and pills. Panettiere revealed that the custody agreement was not a mutual decision.

"I thought she was going over to visit him like she always did," she explained. "[Kaya] would go back and forth from me in Nashville and Ukraine, and then once she was over there, it was immediately 'I want full custody of her,' which was a shock to me."

Panettiere added: "It was very upsetting signing those papers to give him full custody. It was like the most heartbreaking thing I've ever, ever had to do in my life."

The actress shared her concern that the sudden and drastic life change has traumatized Kaya.

"I remember her dad [Klitschko] calling me and telling me Kaya's going around and asking other women if she can call them mommy," Panettiere shared. "My breath hitched and my heart stopped, and he was laughing. He thought this was funny and it was horrifying to me."

Panettiere also discussed her experience with postpartum depression, and said that Klitschko had a very different "mentality" about her condition.

"I respect him for being such a driven human being, he's very positive. Athletes, they're just very driven. That mentality is just pretty incredible," she said. "But he's also a man that doesn't have any sisters. So he really thought that I was doing it to myself and just that I could choose to snap out of [the postpartum depression]."

February 7, 2024: Hayden Panettiere opens up to PEOPLE about her daughter with Wladimir Klitschko

Talking to PEOPLE in February 2024, Panettierre said that the daughter she shares with Klitschko, Kaya, is already multilingual.

"Kaya speaks five languages," she said. "English, Russian, Ukrainian, German, and she's now getting on with her French...she's a genius!"

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