Hayden Panettiere Says Giving Up Custody of Daughter ‘Wasn’t Fully’ Her Decision

Hayden Panettiere on the Sept. 28, 2022 episode of Red Table Talk. (Credit: Facebook Watch)

Hayden Panettiere is sharing her truth about the “heartbreaking” decision to give up custody of her only child.

The Heroes and Nashville star sat down for an interview on Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk, and said “there wasn’t a heck of a lot” she could do to stop her now 7-year-old daughter from moving to Ukraine to live with the actress’ former partner, Wladmir Klitschkoher.

Panettiere told hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris and guest host Kelly Osbourne she wanted to dispel the myth that “I would just easily throw out my child, give away my child.”

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“She was almost three, and it wasn’t fully my decision,” Panettiere told the RTT hosts about the custody arrangement for her daughter Kaya.

The actress has previously said she struggled with alcohol abuse and postpartum depression. In 2018, as she worked on her mental and physical health, Kaya went to Ukraine to live with former professional boxer Klitschko.

“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. It’s a country where it’s very male dominated, so there wasn’t a heck of a lot that I could do.”

Banfield Norris asked her to elaborate, saying: “I thought this was an agreement that you came to that you felt it was best that your daughter be with her dad.”

“At first it was not because it wasn’t a discussion,” Panettiere replied.

“If he had come to me and said, you know, ‘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,’” she said. “To which I probably, if I had had enough of a conversation, would have said, ‘Okay, that makes sense. I get it. I’ll come there, you know, to visit.’ And stuff like that. Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting. I mean, it was the worst.”

Panettiere said she ultimately signed custody papers but it was a  “heartbreaking” experience.

“The papers were to give him full custody. And, I was gonna go work on myself, and I was gonna get better, and when I got better, then things could change and she could come to me, and I could have my time with her, but that didn’t happen,” she said. “I thought she was going over to visit him like she always did. She went back and forth between me in Nashville and Ukraine, and then once she was over there… it was immediately, ‘I want full custody of her,’ which was a shock to me.”

You can watch the full episode of Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk below.