Hayden Panettiere opens up about 'heartbreaking' decision to give up custody of her daughter

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Hayden Panettiere has opened up in a recent interview about her devastating decision to give up custody of her only child, Kaya.

The 33-year-old actress spoke candidly in a Red Table Talk episode - which was released on Wednesday (September 28) - about the situation, which she called "the most heartbreaking thing" she's had to do.

Speaking to the show's hosts - Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and guest host Kelly Osbourne - she revealed that her struggles with alcoholism and post-partum depression forced her to relinquish custody of the child she shares with her ex, former boxer Wladimir Klitschko, 46.

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Wladimir Klitschko and his then fiancée Hayden Panettiere arrive for the charity gala Ein Herz für Kinder in Berlin, Germany, in December 2013. Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy

The Nashville actress revealed that her seven-year-old daughter had been splitting time between Nashville and Klitschko's native Ukraine. Klitschko ended up calling Panettiere in 2018 to tell her that he wanted full custody of Kaya during their daughter's trip to the country.

Check out what she had to say below:

"At first it was not because it wasn't a discussion," Panettiere said during the 30-minute episode. "If [Klitschko] had come to me and said I think because of where you're at right now and the struggles that you're having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while, to which, if I had probably had enough of a conversation, I would've said okay that makes sense, I get it, I'll come there to visit and stuff like that."

Yet, the actress said that the situation became "very upsetting" because of the way it played out.

"It wasn't fully my decision. In fact, I didn't even know it was happening until she was already over there in a country where her uncle is the mayor and they are icons over there," the actress said. "It's a country where it's very male-dominated, so there wasn't a heck of a lot that I could do."

"It was a shock to me," Panettiere continued. "I mean I understand that he thinks that he's doing you know, the right thing. He's a fantastic father, he really is. But I don't think he fully grasps as she gets older, it's going - like kids need their moms. I had never endangered her or done anything that would - in this country, they would never take a child from me."

"Like it never would have happened. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I just tried to tell myself, 'you get yourself better. In time, it will change,'" she added.

Earlier this year, Panettiere had spoken to People about her difficult decision, saying: "It was the hardest thing I could do. But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was okay, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her. And sometimes that means letting go."

Panettiere had also been asked what the most "misunderstood" thing about her was, to which Panettiere replied: "The idea that I'm a person who would just easily throw out my child, you know, give away my child."

Featured image credit: Sipa USA / Alamy

Hayden Panettiere opens up about 'heartbreaking' decision to give up custody of her daughter

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Hayden Panettiere has opened up in a recent interview about her devastating decision to give up custody of her only child, Kaya.

The 33-year-old actress spoke candidly in a Red Table Talk episode - which was released on Wednesday (September 28) - about the situation, which she called "the most heartbreaking thing" she's had to do.

Speaking to the show's hosts - Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and guest host Kelly Osbourne - she revealed that her struggles with alcoholism and post-partum depression forced her to relinquish custody of the child she shares with her ex, former boxer Wladimir Klitschko, 46.

size-full wp-image-1263171383
Wladimir Klitschko and his then fiancée Hayden Panettiere arrive for the charity gala Ein Herz für Kinder in Berlin, Germany, in December 2013. Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy

The Nashville actress revealed that her seven-year-old daughter had been splitting time between Nashville and Klitschko's native Ukraine. Klitschko ended up calling Panettiere in 2018 to tell her that he wanted full custody of Kaya during their daughter's trip to the country.

Check out what she had to say below:

"At first it was not because it wasn't a discussion," Panettiere said during the 30-minute episode. "If [Klitschko] had come to me and said I think because of where you're at right now and the struggles that you're having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while, to which, if I had probably had enough of a conversation, I would've said okay that makes sense, I get it, I'll come there to visit and stuff like that."

Yet, the actress said that the situation became "very upsetting" because of the way it played out.

"It wasn't fully my decision. In fact, I didn't even know it was happening until she was already over there in a country where her uncle is the mayor and they are icons over there," the actress said. "It's a country where it's very male-dominated, so there wasn't a heck of a lot that I could do."

"It was a shock to me," Panettiere continued. "I mean I understand that he thinks that he's doing you know, the right thing. He's a fantastic father, he really is. But I don't think he fully grasps as she gets older, it's going - like kids need their moms. I had never endangered her or done anything that would - in this country, they would never take a child from me."

"Like it never would have happened. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I just tried to tell myself, 'you get yourself better. In time, it will change,'" she added.

Earlier this year, Panettiere had spoken to People about her difficult decision, saying: "It was the hardest thing I could do. But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was okay, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her. And sometimes that means letting go."

Panettiere had also been asked what the most "misunderstood" thing about her was, to which Panettiere replied: "The idea that I'm a person who would just easily throw out my child, you know, give away my child."

Featured image credit: Sipa USA / Alamy