Heroes star Hayden Panettiere says she was given drugs ahead of red carpet appearances aged 15

Actor said ‘happy pills’ were to ‘make me peppy during interviews’

Inga Parkel
Wednesday 06 July 2022 16:51 BST
Hayden Panettiere in Scream 4

Hayden Panettiere has opened up about being given “happy pills” when she was 15, before red carpet interviews.

The actor, now 32, became a child star at 11 years old with roles in soap operas and the 2000 sports film Remember the Titans.

In a new interview with People about her history of addiction to opioids and alcohol, she said she was 15 when she was first offered drugs by someone on her team.

“They were to make me peppy during interviews,” Panettiere said.

“I had no idea that this was not an appropriate thing, or what door that would open for me when it came to my addiction.”

Soon after, at the age of 16, she would go on to land the role of Claire Bennet in the sci-fi series Heroes.

“My saving grace is that I couldn’t be messy while on set and working,” she admitted.

Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts in ‘Scream 4' (Dimension Films/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, her alcohol consumption and occasional opioid usage was increasing.

“But things kept getting out of control [off set]. And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.”

In 2014, Panettiere gave birth to her child Kaya, who she shares with her ex, Ukrainian former professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko.

While she didn’t drink during her pregnancy, she says that began again after giving birth, and was sneaking away to drink.

“He didn’t want to be around me,” she said of Klitschko at the time.

“I didn’t want to be around me. But with the opiates and alcohol I was doing anything to make me feel happy for a moment. Then I’d feel worse than I did before. I was in a cycle of self-destruction.”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

She adds that her drinking worsened and she was admitted to hospital for jaundice.

“Doctors told me my liver was going to give out,” she said. “I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce right back.”

Eventually, she said was able to “get over the hump” of her addiction, after entering rehab for eight months.

“It’s an everyday choice, and I’m checking in with myself all the time,” Panettiere added.

“But I’m just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again.”

Panettiere is set to return to the Scream franchise in the forthcoming sixth film.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in