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
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