July 6 (UPI) — Hayden Panettiere is going public about her struggle with addiction.
The 32-year-old actress discussed in the July 18 issue of People how she had a secret addiction to opioids and alcohol that started early in her career.
Panettiere, who was 16 when she landed the role of Claire Bennet on “Heroes,” said she was given pills by her team from the age of 15. Her addiction worsened as she got older until “the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.”
In addition, Panettiere experienced severe postpartum depression following the birth of Kaya, her daughter with Wladimir Klitschko, in 2014. Panettiere and Klitschko split in 2018 after nine years together.
“He didn’t want to be around me,” Panettiere recalled. “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.”
Panettiere sent her daughter to live with Klitschko in 2018. Her drinking worsened and she was hospitalized at one point before entering rehab for eight months.
The actress told “Good Morning America” that she is now sober and taking things one day at a time.
“It’s an everyday battle,” she said of her sobriety. “It really is. I’m grateful to say that I’m sober today.”
Panettiere will next appear on screen in the film “Scream 6,” which opens in theaters in March 2023. She will reprise her role of Kirby Reed.