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Hayden Panettiere Says Nashville Was Traumatic As Storylines Eerily Mirrored Her Life!

Hayden Panettiere Says Nashville Was 'Traumatic' As Storylines Eerily Mirrored Her Life!

Hayden Panettiere’s storyline on Nashville hit a little too close to home for her…

In an interview with The Messenger on Thursday, the 34-year-old actress got candid about how her character arc on the popular series eerily mirrored her own life – to the point where filming became very traumatic for her! For those who don’t know, Hayden portrayed Juliette Barnes, a rising country music singer in the titular singer who struggles with her personal life and fame. From the very beginning of the show, her character began to experience a lot of what she went through IRL, including struggling with substance abuse and dealing with postpartum depression after her daughter was born.

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They even had her character date a football player when real-life Hayden became romantically involved with NFL star Scotty McKnight! Naturally, her time on Nashville became “traumatizing” since felt like she “was acting out my own life” all the time:

“Straight from the beginning, it was like, I’m dating a football player, [and then] Juliette dates a football player. And then they turned her into an alcoholic. Then they turned to her leaving her daughter and going to this crazy [place] in Europe, and it was very obvious. They weren’t doing their homework. They weren’t creating new storylines. They were just looking at my life and going, ‘Oh, let’s just take what she’s going through and put our little spin on it.’ And then, ta-da! It’s done and done.”


Having to re-experience the difficult moments in her life through her character while working 12- to 20-hour days on set ended up taking a huge toll on her well-being:

“I didn’t have time to take care of myself [and] to think about and go through the pain I was experiencing physically [and] emotionally. I just wanted to drum it out and watch mindless television and great shows. Anything to keep my mind off of that because I knew that next day I was going to be back at it again. I was like, tear central. I don’t even think on a soap opera that I cried as much [as I did] on Nashville.”

It’s heartbreaking how horrible filming had been for Hayden. What made the situation worse for the Heroes alum? She remembered feeling “very, very alone” when working on the show in the titular city, resulting in her making some poor decisions:

“My family didn’t visit a whole lot. And the team of people that I was working with at the time were not the best influence on me. And these people — some had represented me since I was 13 years old — were the kind [that] when they said, ‘Jump!,’ I jumped. If they said, ‘Wear this,’ I wore that. [It] was [to] the point where I never trusted my own opinion. That’s how it led me to make a lot of errors.”

Oof. Looking back, Hayden realized some of the people in her life did not have the best intentions:

“People aren’t trying to protect me. They’re trying to protect themselves. It’s material people that I have been trained almost my entire life to trust and listen to and take advice from. It was a terrifying thing to do to finally make that switch.”

Following these dark times in her life, things thankfully seem to be looking up for Hayden as she got sober in 2021. She is also in a good place with her ex, Wladimir Klitschko, with whom she shares daughter Kaya. While co-parenting with him is still “really hard with the time changes” since he and their child live in Ukraine, Hayden said they make it work as best as they can:

“[Kaya] is me. Vlad laughs, and I think it makes Vlad really happy to have a little me there. There is so much love and respect between us. He has a helicopter and is trying to fly helicopters so while he has her in the back, he will send me videos of her passed out listening to the Nashville soundtrack.”

At least there is a bright side to her time on Nashville — she gets to bond with her daughter over the music. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at or check out

[Image via ABC/ABC News/YouTube]

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Jan 27, 2024 13:07pm PDT