‘I Was On Top Of The World And I Ruined It’: Hayden Panettiere Reveals Her Issues With Addiction

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

Actress Hayden Panettiere revealed her once-secret struggle with addiction to opioids and alcohol threatened her career and life.

“There was just this gray color in my life,” Panettiere said during an interview with People published July 6. The actress, perhaps best known for her roles in “Heroes and Juliette Barnes” and “Scream,” admitted to spending years trapped in a cycle of addiction and postpartum depression, and candidly spoke about having to give up custody of her daughter amid her personal struggles. “I was on top of the world and I ruined it.”

Panettiere said she entered a world of addiction at the age of 15, after someone gave her “happy pills” prior to her red carpet appearances.

“They were to make me peppy during interviews,” Panettiere said, according to People. “I had no idea that this was not an appropriate thing, or what door that would open for me when it came to my addiction.”

Things quickly got out of control for the famous actress and singer, who admitted to taking opioids in addition to drinking alcohol, the outlet reported. At the age of 16, her career was seeing an upward trajectory, but she was already struggling with her addiction.

“And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without,” she said, according to People. (RELATED: George Michael’s Alleged Addiction To Drugs Explored In Upcoming Biography)

During her struggles, Panettiere gave birth to a daughter named Kaya, at which point she recalls falling deeply into postpartum depression.

Panettiere revealed the depths of addiction by describing some of her lowest points.

“I’d think I hit rock bottom, but then there’s that trap door that opens,” Panettiere said to People.

“I would have the shakes when I woke up and could only function with sipping alcohol,” she continued. This eventually led to her hospitalization after suffering from jaundice. “Doctors told me my liver was going to give out.”

Her marriage crumbled and Panettiere made the “heartbreaking decision” to let her daughter live with her former husband. “It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I wanted to be a good mom to her — and sometimes that means letting them go,” Panettiere said, according to the outlet.

Panettiere decided to turn her life around roughly a year ago. She underwent trauma therapy and inpatient treatment and has made a comeback by reprising her role in the upcoming “Scream” film. She admitted it wasn’t an easy transition.

“I put a lot of work into myself and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest,” Panettiere said. “This hasn’t been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs.”

“But I don’t regret even the ugliest things that have happened to me,” the actress continued. “I feel incredibly accomplished. And I feel like I have a second chance.”