Hayden Panettiere is speaking out about her controversial ex(ish)-boyfriend Brian Hickerson, and her terse words are definitely catching our attention.
The Remember The Titans alum spoke to the New York Times in an interview published on Tuesday morning. The piece centered on Hayden’s push to get back on screen again with Scream 6 as she hopes to leave some troubled times behind.
One thing she’s apparently not leaving behind is her chemistry with Hickerson, though. In the NYT piece, the 33-year-old celeb spoke about her star-crossed 32-year-old partner, his run-ins with the law, and his time in jail.
When the newspaper of record asked Hayden if she and Hickerson are dating once again after his domestic violence and felony assault arrests, the star remained enigmatic. She didn’t proudly confirm a full-on relationship, but she did call Hickerson “babe” several times throughout the newspaper chat. And she did say this about their connection:
“There are feelings there, yes.”
But there are apparently rules in place, too. For one, the I Love You, Beth Cooper star explained any relationship they continue to foster together is “contingent on him continuing on this road of recovery” from addiction. Which is good. But also a risk, of course, considering Hickerson’s ugly history since he and Hayden first got together back in 2018.
Panettiere referenced Hickerson’s recent jail stint and his other legal woes:
“He knows he deserved what happened to him.”
And she added:
“I did not do any of this lightly.”
We sure hope not.
Of course, after first linking up with the Nashville alum back in 2018, Hickerson was arrested multiple times on domestic violence charges. Their nearly four-year-long relationship initially coincided with Panettiere’s own struggles, too. She has recently been more open about suffering through alcohol and opioid addictions in her adult life.
As Perezcious readers will recall, Hickerson was first arrested on a domestic violence charge in May of 2019. He was again arrested in February 2020 during a trip the couple took to Wyoming on Valentine’s Day of that year. In July of 2020, he was arrested once more on multiple felony assault charges after an investigation. Hayden split from him and obtained a restraining order. He struck a plea deal with prosecutors in that case, and in early 2021, he served several weeks in jail.
Following that July 2020 arrest, Panettiere broke her silence in a statement about their ill-fated relationship, too. She told the media at the time:
“I am coming forward with the truth about what happened to me with the hope that my story will empower others in abusive relationships to get the help they need and deserve. I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again. I’m grateful for my support system, which helped me find the courage to regain my voice and my life.”
This week’s NYT piece doesn’t mark the first re-connection these two have had, though. Back in July of 2021, not long after Hickerson was released from jail, he and Hayden were spotted out together by fans.
When asked at the time about apparently rekindling their romance, Hickerson told E! News:
“Hayden and I are not back together but are working on a friendship. We have a long history together, and the first step in my recovery as an abuser is making amends. That’s exactly what Hayden has been gracious enough to allow me to do.”
Now, upon hearing Hayden still hasn’t severed ties with Hickerson — and reading her use words like “babe” to refer to him in this new interview — we can only hope she’s continuing to make wise decisions for herself.
She’s had a tumultuous personal life in recent years, and we hope this re-connection with Hickerson doesn’t bring back past skeletons. You can read the full NYT piece HERE.
Sending love and light…