Surprising news out of a Los Angeles County courtroom today, as Radar Online is reporting that Brian Hickerson -- the controversial boyfriend of actress Hayden Panettiere -- will not be charged with domestic assault.
Hickerson was arrested back in May after police responded to a 911 call from Hayden's neighbors.
The case appeared to be open and shut, as neighbors testified that they heard sounds of an argument, followed by a female voice crying out in pain.
It was later revealed that Hickerson had been charged with brutally beating Panettiere three times over the course of two days and was expected to serve time behind bars for the attacks.
In a stunning turn of events, however, Panettiere refused to testify against her ex in court.
According to Radar, Hayden's family was contacted and informed that if the actress did not show up for today's hearing, the prosecution would be left without witnesses and would have no choice but to drop the charges.
It's possible that the DA might subpoena Panettiere at a later date, which would mean re-filing charges against Hickerson.
“If they subpoena her, they’d reopen the case,” a source close to the case tells Radar.
The insider revealed that Hayden's family is “disappointed” in the outcome but uncertain as to whether or not they should encourage the actress to take the steps necessary to see that Hickerson is brought to justice.
“With all the evidence the police had, it’s not enough even without Hayden? It’s a fault in our judicial system,” says the informant.
“It is not on Brian’s own good behavior that this got dismissed. It doesn’t change who is and what he has done. He is a criminal.”
Despite the perceived miscarriage of justice, it seems likely that Hickerson will not face a second trial, as it appears that Hayden would prefer to simply move on with her life.
According to the source, she and Hickerson “planned this” outcome, and the charges were “never going to go through" per an arrangement they reached ahead of the trial date.
“It doesn’t shed a good light on Hayden," says the insider.
"It’s a bad choice to avoid the summons and not follow through,” the source continues.
“It’s certainly not the end of the journey for Hayden or Brian.”
We'd like to point out that it's important to avoid victim-shaming in a case such as this, and it's crucial Hayden do whatever is best for her mental health
If there's any bright side to this situation, it's that Hayden and Brian appear to have finally parted ways.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the actress and her ex still run in the same social circle due to the fact that Panettiere is now dating Hickerson's brother.
We'll have further updates on this ongoing story as more information becomes available.
Well folks, we've got good news and bad news.
The good news is, it looks as though Hayden Panettierre has finally parted ways with her abusive boyfriend, Brian Hickerson.
The bad news is, it appears that she's now dating Brian's brother, Zach Hickerson.
We don't mean to suggest that Zach is necessarily a bad guy because of his association with Brian.
It's just one of the situations that seems likely to end badly, ya know?
News of the romantic shakeup comes to us courtesy of Radar Online.
A source tells the site that this is no mere fling, and Hayden and Zach have been in a relationship for several months now.
“It’s a very strange set of circumstances,” says the insider.
“I don’t know if it’s better than the alternative,” claims the source, identified only as a "concerned friend."
“How strange it may be, the one positive thing about this is Zach is certainly not the violent temper that Brian is.”
Obviously, that's a good thing.
But it's hard not be concerned for Hayden's safety knowing that she's still in Hickerson's social circle following what we assume was a very messy breakup.
To the chagrin of her family and friends, Hayden stayed with Brian despite the allegations.
Currently, Hickerson is awaiting trial on domestic violence charges that could land him behind bars form a very long time.
Hayden has yet to confirm her new relationship but she was recently spotted on what appeared to be a date with Zach.
“They were walking hand-in-hand, talking and laughing together,” says the source.
“She was jumping up and down making funny faces, and he was flexing his muscles and laughing. They looked happy together.”
The insider adds that Hayden and Zach have “been involved for two months now.”
“Those close to Hayden are not going to pretend to understand it or condone it,” but “there’s nothing anyone can do,” claims the informant.
“She has been reluctant to talk about it because she knows how people feel — it’s definitely something she would not want to discuss.," the insider adds.
"And she doesn’t want to share too much especially because of what’s going on with Brian and his legal issues.”
Brian Hickerson's jury trial begins in Los Angeles court on September 24.
We'll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.
More disturbing news today involving troubled actress Hayden Panettiere.
Hayden is dating Brian Hickerson, and despite the fact that the guy is basically a walking red flag, it seems she's planning on riding this disastrous relationship out.
On May 2, Hickerson was arrested on domestic violence charges following an incident that appears to have involved Panettiere.
Details are of the altercation are scarce, but neighbors reportedly called the police and reported that they had heard a female voice crying out in pain.
In the days following the incident, both Hickerson and Panettiere laid low.
Both parties have yet to comment on the situation, but according to Radar Online, hopes that Hayden would finally leave her troubled boyfriend were dashed today when the couple was spotted walking hand-in-hand during an outing in Los Angeles.
Sadly, the arrest is just the latest troubling incident involving Hickerson's volatile behavior.
Friends and family have blamed Hayden's heavy drinking on her relationship, and her substance abuse seems to have been a major factor in her estrangement from her 4-year-old daughter, who currently lives in Ukraine with her father.
In the past three months, Hickerson has been accused of assaulting his father and fleeing the scene of a drunk driving accident.
Panettiere was reportedly a witness to the first incident and may have been in the car for the second.
Not surprisingly, those closest to the actress are urging her to end her tumultuous relationship as soon as possible.
“I knew he had an incident with his father, and he has a tendency to do that [physical violence],” claimed Panettiere’s mom, Lesley Vogel.
“Never had I thought it would be against Hayden or I would have addressed it sooner. I have addressed many things.”
And apparently, Vogel is not alone in her disapproval of Hickerson.
A source tells Radar that several members of Hayden's family “do not approve” of Hickerson, adding her loved ones “are hoping this is something that she is going to evolve from.”
Here's hoping the Panettiere family is monitoring the situation closely.
We'll continue to keep an eye on this developing story and keep you updated as new information becomes available.
Brian Hickerson has been arrested for allegedly abusing his famous girlfriend.
According to multiple outlets, the 30-year old was booked in the very early hours on Thursday, May 2 in Hollywood -- and is currently free on $50,000 bond.
TMZ reports that Hickerson and Hayden Panettiere were out and about on Wednesday evening, drinking and seemingly having a good time.
But they eventually returned to their home and got into a heated argument of some kind.
At some point, someone called 911 (it's unclear who made the call) and police showed up around 2 a.m.
After noting redness and marks on the actress' body, and after talking with both parties at the scene, authorities determined that Hickerson instigated the physical altercation and took him into custody.
This isn't the first time Hickerson has been involved in a domestic dispute, per this same celebrity gossip website.
This past October, Brian and his dad got into a fight at a home in South Carolina.
According to the official police report, officers responded at that time to a call for assault and battery -- and when they showed up, Panettiere actually answered the door in an apparent drunk and frantic state.
Approximately a month later, Hayden and Hickerson were spotted at a Hollywood hot spot ... and he caused a scene with a fake proposal.
“Brian has been a bad influence from the beginning,” a source tells People Magazine. “Hayden’s friends and family are not happy with the relationship.
The romance got underway last summer.
The couple has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, but every time something is written about them, the news does seem negative/dire.
In December, Hickerson, an aspiring actor, defended his romance with Panettiere after the release of report that alleged her friends were concerned about the pair spending time together.
“Just to be clear, Hayden’s friends and family are not worried about her at all,” he said in a simple statement to Access.
“Hayden is happy and healthy and so is our relationship,” the South Carolina native continued. “That is all I will comment on so please respect my privacy. Have a great day.”
Panettiere, best known for her starring roles in Heroes and Nashville, has a three-year old daughter with boxer Wladimir Klitschko; the little girl lives with her dad in the Ukraine.
She also dated co-star Milo Ventimiglia back when the two appeared on the aforementioned NBC drama.
“[We] love being low key, being mellow, having experiences, having conversations, really in-depth conversations,” Panettiere previously told Us Weekly, adding this past February that she does "hope" to marry Hickerson.
Panettiere has not yet commented on her boyfriend's arrest.
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Hayden Panettiere Steps out Without Her Engagement Ring After Seeking Help for Postpartum Depression
In May, Hayden Panettiere announced she sought holistic help for her continued struggles with postpartum depression. And nearly two months later, the actress was spotted for the first time in New York City on Monday.
Dressed in a plaid shirt and blue tights, Panettiere, 26, had her nose in the book, Underboss: Sammy The Bull Gravano’s Story of Life in the Mafia, while sitting on a stoop and smoking a cigarette. Missing on her left ring finger was her six-carat engagement ring from fiancé Wladimir Klitschko. Panettiere and Klitschko, 40, began dating in 2009 but split in 2011. The pair reconciled two years later in early 2013.
The Nashville star first sought treatment for postpartum depression in October 2015 after giving birth to the couple’s daughter Kaya Evdokia, who is now 18 months. Panettiere has never been ashamed to talk about her battle with postpartum depression. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think it’s not real, that’s it not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones,'” she said prior to her very first treatment. “They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
And in May, the mother of one tweeted: “The postpartum depression I have been experiencing has impacted every aspect of my life. Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life.”
Panettiere’s N.Y.C. outing comes a week after it was reported that she would return to Nashville for season 5 when it moves to CMT. Panettiere is expected to reprise her role as Juliette Barnes, who also suffered from postpartum on the show, along with series regular Connie Britton.
– Karen Mizoguchi
Hayden Panettiere Taking ‘Time to Reflect Holistically’ After Using ‘Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms’ to Battle Postpartum Depression
After welcoming daughter Kaya Evdokia in December 2014 with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, the Nashville actress entered rehab last October for postpartum depression, a struggle she has been very open about.
And on Thursday, Panettiere, 26, shared that she has made the decision to continue getting the help she needs.
“The postpartum depression I have been experiencing has impacted every aspect of my life,” she tweeted. “Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life. Wish me luck!”
The mother of one previously told PEOPLE she’s used her own personal journey to address the stigma surrounding PPD. “The biggest message that I’ve been trying to promote for women is that it’s okay to ask for help,” Panettiere explained in March. “You feel mommy guilt — it’s for real.”
And in January at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the star opened up about how relieved she felt after telling her truth. ” I’m 26 years old. I’m a mom. I don’t need to be afraid of what people are going to think. I saw how much people rallied behind me when I was honest, and I didn’t know that honesty could be such a gift.”
Coincidentally on Thursday, ABC announced that Panettiere’s show Nashville was canceled after four seasons on the network.
— Karen Mizoguchi
Since recovering from her own struggle with postpartum depression after seeking professional treatment, Hayden Panettiere wants to let other mothers know that taking the first step towards health is nothing to be ashamed of.
“The biggest message that I’ve been trying to promote for women is that it’s okay to ask for help,” the Nashville star, 26, told PEOPLE on the set of her new Carl’s Jr. commercial. “You feel mommy guilt — it’s for real.”
“It’s like being in a tunnel,” she said. “You can’t even remember when you felt good. You try and think back to when you felt good, when you felt positive, when you felt happy, and you can’t. All you see is this enveloping darkness.”
Going public with her battle and recovery has helped the actress to move past those feelings.
“I’ve just been trying to be much more open and honest about who I am,” says Panettiere. “I’m 26 years old, I’m an adult, and [I don’t] have to falsify who I am.”
For more of Panettiere’s interview on postpartum depression and how she moved on, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
Hayden Panettiere Details Her Experience with Postpartum Depression: ‘It Is One of the Most Debilitating, Scary, Guilty Feelings’
“I was always so terrified that people weren’t going to accept me,” the 26-year-old tells Yahoo! Style in a new interview of revealing that she had PPD.
“I finally just went, ‘I’m tired of living afraid. I’m tired of living in fear of what people are going to think, so, you know, I’m just going to put it all out there on the table and I’m not going to worry about the judgment.’ ”
The Nashville actress — who shares daughter Kaya Evdokia, nearly 15 months, with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko — entered treatment last October, and was immediately “floored” by the outpouring of support she received.
“The more open I was, the more acceptance I got from people,” she told Yahoo!. “I got so much support and so much love.”
Panettiere added, “I feel much more exposed, yes, but in a great way.”
What the star doesn’t appreciate, however, is the sometimes negative stigma that surrounds PPD.
She says of critics: “It’s like you have no idea what you’re talking about. If you think for one second that a mother wants to feel that way toward her child, you’re outta your mind. It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel.”
Continuing, “That a mother would not be able to connect with their child, would not be able to get a grip, or would not know what’s going on, for anybody to say that it’s false or created by us, you must have your head examined.”
On top of her personal journey, Panettiere was also faced with her Nashville character’s own struggle with PPD — an unplanned coincidence. In fact, Juliette’s battle has extended past Panettiere’s own.
“It was strange having to throw myself back into that frame of mind,” she shared. “The way I do things is to pull from my own personal experience and sometimes even turn myself into what I’m portraying so that I can pull from my life and step into that person’s shoes by being able to relate.”
— Lindsay Kimble
Embracing the sunshine and sand, Panettiere captured photos alongside her 39-year-old fiancé, and also of the Ukranian native playing in the sand with Kaya.
In one image, the Nashville actress smiled while Klitschko rested his head on top of hers. In another, Kaya, almost 15 months, explored near the tide while the boxer crouched down next to her.
“The loves of my life,” wrote Panettiere, 26.
VIDEO: [ITALIC “Nashville”] Stars Show Support for Hayden Panettiere at the CMT Artist of the Year Event
“I’m really happy that I can stand up for the women who are out there suffering from this and let them know it’s okay,” Panettiere said in January of being open with her diagnosis. ” They’re not alone. It doesn’t mean they’re weak. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad mom. It doesn’t mean they’re strange. They can get help if they need it, and that’s okay.”
–– Lindsay Kimble
“It feels different for me because of things that I’ve gone through recently, over the last year,” the Nashville star told PEOPLE exclusively on the red carpet for the Critics’ Choice Awards. “I’ve really gone, ‘You know what, I’ve been in this industry for so long, forget it!’ I’ve been hiding myself. Just putting out the smiling face, showing people this, and allowing that veil to come down — it’s like a weight off my shoulders.”
She adds, “I’m 26 years old. I’m a mom. I don’t need to be afraid of what people are going to think. I saw how much people rallied behind me when I was honest, and I didn’t know that honesty could be such a gift.”
Sunday night marked Panettiere’s first U.S. red carpet appearance since entering treatment in October, and the actress says she enjoyed walking in front of the cameras “so much more because I don’t feel like I have to hide anymore.”
After welcoming daughter Kaya Evdokia in December 2014 with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, Panettiere said she felt scared. Choosing to be open about her struggle has helped, though, she contends.
“Honestly, when I said [I had PPD] the first time on Kelly and Michael I didn’t plan on it,” she says. “We talked about it for a second, but it was just like a conversation, and I was like, ‘Why should I be ashamed or hide when it costs so much?’ It costs me so much to hide. It costs you so much to lie.”
Panettiere has used her own personal journey to address the stigma surrounding PPD, and tells PEOPLE that “there is no overcoming” the often negative sentiment.
“The only important thing to me is that I’m not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to,” she says. “It would horrible for me to be going, ‘You can be whomever you want! You can do whatever you want in life!’ yet I was unable to follow the same words.”
As she tells E! News, “I was floored by the positive response. I’m really happy that I can stand up for the women who are out there suffering from this and let them know it’s okay. They’re not alone. It doesn’t mean they’re weak. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad mom. It doesn’t mean they’re strange. They can get help if they need it, and that’s okay.”
– Lindsay Kimble with reporting by Reagan Alexander
Hayden Panettiere’s Postpartum Storyline on Nashville Was ‘Planned Long Before’ She Sought PPD Treatment
Life is, unfortunately, imitating art for Hayden Panettiere.
When news broke on Tuesday that the actress is entering treatment for postpartum depression, Nashville fans found the storyline quite familiar: Panettiere’s character on the ABC hit, new mom Juliette Barnes, is facing a similar struggle.
Season 3 ended with Barnes throwing a snow globe past husband Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) and baby Cadence during an emotional outburst, and season 4 began with the country star partying on the road, without much thought for the family she’s left behind.
But a source close to the show tells PEOPLE Barnes’ storyline was “planned and started playing out long before” Panettiere, 26, revealed she was seeking treatment herself.
“The groundwork for the postpartum storyline began way back last season [before Hayden gave birth],” explains the source.
“Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal,” the actress said while promoting her show on a September episode of Live! with Kelly and Michael.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
She recently told Australia’s TV Week. “Unfortunately, I experienced postnatal depression. You’re just miserable to be around. It’s really scary and lonely … I just thought, ‘Does this mean there’s something wrong with me?’ ”
“I was moody and sad and had these overwhelming feelings of doom,” continued Panettiere, who has been leaning on Klitschko as she seeks help. “He’s been very supportive… He loves his little girl. He’s a sucker, as all dads usually are!”
Nashville production is working around Panettiere’s treatment schedule as the show continues filming season 4.
— Patrick Gomez and Kate Hogan
Back in December Hayden Panettiere welcomed a baby girl.
It was the first child for both Hayden and her boxer fiance, Wladimir Klitschko, and the couple gushed with pride as they shared the first photos of baby Kaya.
Unfortunately, it now seems that Hayden;s well-publicized struggles with postpartum depression have shown no sign of relenting, and sources confirm she recently decided to check into an in-patient therapy center to receive treatment.
“Hayden Panettiere is voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center as she is currently battling postpartum depression," says a statement issued by reps for the actress.
"She asks that the media respect her privacy during this time."
Hayden has been remarkably candid about the emotional difficulties she endured in the months following her daughter's birth:
"You don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on," Hayden said during a recent appearance on Live! With Kelly & Michael. "It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal."
In recent weeks, it looked as though Panetierre was beginning to overcome her depression, as she frequently posted upbeat tweets, such as, "I feel like I'm finally coming into my own body!"
Sadly, as anyone who's life has been touched by depression knows, and upswing can be followed by an abrupt downturn.
Interestingly, Hayden's character on the ABC series Nashville also suffers from postpartum depression. Panettiere has stated that she drew from personal experience in depicting her characters emotional struggles.
Hayden Panettiere is on the mend.
The Nashville star, 26, “is voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center as she is currently battling postpartum depression,” her rep tells PEOPLE.
“She asks that the media respect her privacy during this time.”
Michael Sterling Eaton
“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. 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.”
She continued, “There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
Added Panettiere, “Women are amazing. We do something that no man can do on this planet. I mean, we grow a human being in our body!”
— Sarah Michaud with reporting by Julie Jordan
These celebrity couples have massive age gaps between them. Some bigger than others, but all huge age gaps just the same.
Not surprisingly, the majority of them involve older men, but there are some exceptions. Also, some of them are still together!
Find out which ones in the gallery ...