‘I wish I knew about it’: Hayden Panetierre opens up about postpartum depression and struggle with alcohol

Hayden Panettiere has spoken candidly about how she wishes she had known about the risk of postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Kaya.

The Scream 6 star, 33, has been open about her struggles with substance abuse, as she was addicted to opioids and alcohol.

In a recent interview with E! News’ The Rundown, Panettiere shared how turning to alcohol to deal with postpartum depression made “everything worse”.

She told host Erin Lim Rhodes: “I wish I knew about postpartum depression. I wish I knew to look out for it. I just thought there was something seriously wrong with me, so I thought, ‘Fireball will fix this – duh!’ and it didn’t. It does for a moment, but then it makes everything worse.”

The actor said she did not learn about postpartum depression before her pregnancy, which made the experience even more isolating.

“Then it hurts for you,” the mother of one said. “You’re like, ‘I should be able to get over this all by myself.’

“I wish somebody told me that that was a possibility – told me it’s OK if you birth your child and you’re not immediately like, ‘Oh my god, I love you more than anything in the entire world!’”

“It’s OK and not abnormal if [your baby] comes out and it’s a blob and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is like a crazy little creation that I’m going to love when I get to know you’,” the Heroes star continued.

Last year, Panettiere said the combination of her addiction to opiods and postpartum depression left her no longer wanting to see her child, who she shares with her ex, Ukrainian former professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko.

Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko attend the Giorgio Armani show during Milan Menswear Fashion Week Spring Summer 2014 on June 25, 2013 (Getty Images)
Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko attend the Giorgio Armani show during Milan Menswear Fashion Week Spring Summer 2014 on June 25, 2013 (Getty Images)

She said: “I never had the feeling that I wanted to harm my child, but I didn’t want to spend any time with her. There was just this grey colour in my life.”

Panettiere gave up custody of eight-year-old Kaya in 2018 to let her move to Ukraine to live with her father, a decision which she described as “the hardest thing I could do”.

In an appearance on Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk last September, she recalled how she and Klitschko came to the decision.

“At first it was not because it wasn’t a discussion,” she said. “If [Klitschko] had come to me and said, ‘I think because of where you’re at right now and the struggles that you’re having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while’, to which, if I had probably had enough of a conversation, I would’ve said, ‘OK, that makes sense, I get it, I’ll come there to visit.’”

But the reality of how the situation played out was “very upsetting”, Panettiere said.

“It was the worst, signing those papers, it was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” she said, clarifying that the papers were to give Klitschko full custody of their daughter.

Despite it all, Panettiere said she and Kaya continue to be close. She told People that her daughter “has a beautiful life”.

“I was just with her,” she said in July 2022. “She’s just an amazing child. She’s smart and she’s funny and for whatever reason, she still loves me.”