Hayden Panettiere met then-33-year-old Ukrainian boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko at a mutual friend’s book launch when she was just 19 years old, according to E! News. It was their staggering height difference that initially drew them to one another — Klitschko stands at 6’6″ and Panettiere is a petite 5’0″. Eventually, their love blossomed. After a few ups and downs, they got engaged in 2013, and their daughter, Kaya Evdokia, was born in December 2014. Sadly, Panettiere and Klitschko wouldn’t make it to the altar, and she was spotted out on the town with a new beau by August 2018.
But just because the Heroes alum chose to move on from Klitschko, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t be a loving and devoted mother to her daughter, right? Unfortunately, allegations claiming the former Nashville actress was absent from Kaya’s life hit the rumor mill in 2019, with sources stating Panettiere and her daughter lived thousands of miles apart.
Still, it’d appear that Panettiere does make an effort, co-parenting with her ex in different countries, and the two seem to have it down to a science. From frequent family vacations to Panettiere’s battle with postpartum depression that ultimately helped her become a « better mom, » here’s the real reason Hayden Panettiere isn’t living with her daughter.
It’s a ‘sad situation,’ but is it for the best?
In February 2019, Us Weekly reported that, since ending her relationship with Wladimir Klitschko in 2018, Hayden Panettiere « hasn’t had much time » with their daughter, Kaya Evdokia. « She knows the child being with her is not best for [Kaya right now], » an insider stated. « It’s a sad situation. »
So, where exactly is Kaya and why isn’t Panettiere living with her? After her CMT show Nashville canceled, amid her split from Klitschko, Panettiere moved from Tennessee to Los Angeles « to take a little bit of a break and make some decisions on her own of what she wants to do, » her mom, Lesley Vogel, told Radar Online. As for Kaya, she lives « primarily with her dad and his family in Europe and Florida, » a source told E! News. « They also spend time together as a family with Hayden. »
Being based in Los Angeles means Panettiere is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the entertainment capitol where she makes a living. So it makes sense she would choose to remain in California, even if it means she doesn’t get to live with her daughter full time, no?
Is Hayden Panettiere stuck in a ‘heartbreaking’ situation?
An insider told Us Weekly (via AP News) that the living situation works for Hayden Panettiere’s daughter, but it has been tough on the TV actress. Panettiere frequently travels between Los Angeles and Wladimir Klitschko’s native Ukraine — where their daughter lives. According to Us Weekly, Panettiere infrequently « comes and goes » between the two countries for some quality time with her little one.
The gossip publication added that the Scream 4 actress was stuck in a situation that’s « heartbreaking and challenging. » Regarding Panettiere’s plight, an insider said, « They didn’t spend the holidays together. It’s disturbing, and she’ll have to figure out how to manage this. It’s not an easy scenario. »
We are very sympathetic to Hayden Panettiere and the circumstances surrounding her relationship with her daughter. We can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for them to live so far away from each other.
Hayden Panettiere and her ex-fiancé are ‘still respectful of each other’
When a child is left in the middle of a couple’s breakup, it can lead to bitter custody battles and tons of drama. Since Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko split in 2018, the former couple has refrained from mudslinging and dragging their issues into the Hollywood spotlight. In fact, they seem to get along swimmingly — well, as swimmingly as things can possibly get between exes. « We’re still respectful of each other, and we still have that friendship with each other, » Panettiere told Us Weekly. « It’s not a situation that you find yourself in all that often, so it’s a new one. But I think we’ve done a really good job. »
Part of the reason they’ve been able to make things work is that they’re on the same page. « We’re trying to do the book smarts and the street smart, » the Nashville starlet said of their parenting style. « So, you know, trial and error as a parent. … We’re all going to make mistakes. »
Kudos to these two for staying civil and for putting their child first.
Treatment for PPD made Hayden Panettiere ‘a better mom’
While starring on Nashville, Hayden Panettiere played the role of country singer and new mom Juliette Barnes, who struggled with postpartum depression (PPD). Life began to imitate art when, sadly, Panettiere experienced her own symptoms of PPD following the birth of her daughter. The character’s storyline was planned long before Panettiere gave birth, a source told People magazine, and it reportedly had a strong effect on the actress. Panettiere told Good Morning America, « I think [playing the role] helped me identify what was going on. »
Panettiere voluntarily checked into a treatment center ten months after giving birth, as E! News reported. She entered rehab for a second time in May 2016 after the disorder began to impact « every aspect » of her life. « 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! » she wrote, in part, on her Twitter page.
All in all, her treatment for PPD was a positive experience, and it had an amazing effect on her. « I think I’m a better mom for it because you never take that connection for granted, » Panettiere told Good Morning America.
Hayden Panettiere and her ex-fiancé ‘share parenting duties’
Even with Hayden Panettiere living in the United States and her child reportedly living with her ex-fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko, the actress is far from being an absentee parent. She and Klitschko are a team, and they « share parenting duties, » as reported by People. Though Panettiere and Klitschko are no longer linked romantically, we have to give them props for how they’ve managed to maintain a friendly relationship. Even after their 2018 breakup, they still traveled together as a family. Panettiere’s mom, Lesley Vogel, confirmed to Radar Online that the actress was « in Greece with Wlad and her daughter » after their split.
Many suspected these amicable exes would rekindle their relationship, with one source telling People magazine in August 2018, « They respect each other and are still very attracted [to each other]. Don’t rule this romance out. » But, nope. As of this writing, they’re just amicable exes who are pros at long-distance co-parenting.
Hayden Panettiere got a new man in her life
Before Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko could announce their relationship was over, the actress was spotted out with aspiring actor and budding real estate agent Brian Hickerson. A source told E! News in August 2018 that Panettiere and Hickerson met through mutual friends and « hit it off. » The insider said, « Brian has been her sounding board since Hayden split from Wladimir and has really been there for her, » adding, « They have been seeing each other for the past month and are hooking up. »
Panettiere and Hickerson’s romance may have started out as a fling, but things went from 0 to 100 real quick. « Hayden really likes Brian, has a great time with him, and the romance has gone past a dalliance, » an insider told People in February 2019. « She was first attracted to him because he was hot and different, and now she is pretty interested in him. »
The source was unsure if the new romance would go the distance, but they did mention that it would be « better » for Panettiere to put the focus back on herself and « spend as much time with her daughter as she can. »
A family get-together went south
Hayden Panettiere and her new beau, Brian Hickerson, took a trip to his hometown of Greenville, S.C. in October 2018. There, they spent time with Hickerson’s dad, David, and things reportedly went wrong. TMZ reported that « police responded to a call for assault and battery. » According to a police report obtained by the celebrity gossip rag, Hickerson had allegedly been chasing his father through the house « with a Gatorade bottle in his hand. » A frazzled Panettiere reportedly opened the front door for the responding officer « in a panic, » and Hickerson eventually wound up in cuffs.
Hickerson’s dad reportedly had « visible injuries on his face — severe bruising and bleeding, » though he blamed the injuries on a fall. And Panettiere’s new boo was supposedly less than forthcoming about what went down, because he was afraid of the « potential negative impact the incident could have on Hayden. »
The actress reportedly admitted to police that she and Hickerson’s dad had been consuming alcohol before whatever happened, well, happened, but sources told TMZ she « denies having been drunk. »
Hayden Panettiere’s friends were reportedly worried
After the cray-cray October 2018 incident between her boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, and his dad, David, in South Carolina, Hayden Panettiere’s friends and family were allegedly worried about her relationship, claiming it’s « not a healthy situation, » as reported by Us Weekly. Hickerson didn’t speak on what really went down during the rumored drunken family get-together, but he did release a statement to Access in order to refute the claims that those in Panettiere’s inner circle were concerned. « Just to be clear, Hayden’s friends and family are not worried about her at all, » he said. « Hayden is happy and healthy and so is our relationship. That is all I will comment on so please respect my privacy. »
While we hoped he was right, we couldn’t blame Panettiere’s pals for expressing their concern. After all, anyone would be worried if their loved one was potentially in a similar situation, right?
Hayden Panettiere’s daughter is excelling
After Us Weekly reported that Hayden Panettiere hadn’t spent much time with her daughter, the actress’ then-boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, had her back. « Hayden is actually on a family vacation right now with her daughter and the Champ [Wladimir Klitschko], so don’t believe everything you read, » he told Access. « She’s a great mom. » We totally believe him, and Panettiere corroborated his story by posting a picture on her Twitter of what appeared to be her daughter lovingly clutching her arm.
We’re not sure where Panettiere, Klitschko, and their daughter, Kaya, were exactly, but Panettiere told Us Weekly in an article published in February 2019, that they love going on « nice long vacations » that « result in an email from [Kaya’s] school saying, ‘Your kid has been gone too long.' » Panettiere defended her and Klitschko’s decision to pull Kaya out of school by boasting that their daughter « speaks multiple languages. »
And not only is Kaya « really good at Russian, » she’s also been hitting the ski slopes since the age of two, as Panettiere told Live with Kelly! (via People). Sounds like Kaya is flourishing!
Hayden Panettiere has a lot going on in her personal life
Within the span of nine months, Hayden Panettiere’s boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, was arrested twice for alleged domestic violence. The first arrest occurred in May 2019, when Hickerson was taken into custody in Los Angeles for felony domestic violence after police suspected a fight between him and Panettiere had turned physical, TMZ reports. The aspiring actor reportedly bailed out on a $50,000 bond, and a source cited by People claimed, « Brian has been a bad influence from the beginning. »
The second arrest happened on Valentine’s Day 2020 in Jackson, Wyo. following an alleged physical argument between Panettiere and Hickerson. Hickerson allegedly hit Panettiere « with a closed fist on the right side of her face, » per court docs obtained by Entertainment Tonight, and he reportedly told responding officers that the Nashville alum claimed that he « beat the f**k out of [her]. » Authorities reported that Hickerson wouldn’t answer when they asked if he’d hit Panettiere, and allegedly observed « a fresh scrape and swelling on the top » of the actress’ left hand, as well as injuries to her face. Hickerson was arrested and charged with domestic battery and interference with a police officer. He was later released.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at www.thehotline.org.
Hayden Panettiere’s ex-fiancé has been her ‘champ’ during this time
After Brian Hickerson’s second arrest in February 2020, Hayden Panettiere broke her silence on Twitter with a message about her ex-fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko. It all started when Panettiere shared a since-deleted picture of her then-5-year-old daughter, Kaya, with Klitschko, which she captioned (via E! News), « Best father ever. » One confused fan shared a curt response: « Before or after he beat you[?] » Panettiere quickly responded that they were mistaken, clarifying: « Wrong guy. Klitschko’s r legends. That’s my CHAMP. »
We’re not going to speculate about whether Hickerson and Panettiere are together, as of this writing, or if the arrests have played a role in her relationship with Kaya, but we will say it’s nice to know Klitschko is still Panettiere’s rock. As for Klitschko’s supposed thoughts about Hickerson? « Vlad was so in love with Hayden that he looks the other way with regard to some things, but Brian has tested Vlad’s patience and kindness, » a source claimed to Us Weekly in November 2019. « Vlad thinks that Brian is a user and overall bad guy. »
As always, we wish Panettiere and Klitschko the best in their co-parenting relationship, no matter the obstacles that might surface.