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Hayden Panettiere recalls ‘horrifying’ moment daughter asked to call other women ‘mommy’

Hayden Panettiere recalled the ‘horrifying’ moment her daughter asked to call other women ‘mommy’ after the child went to live with her father in Ukraine four years ago – amid the actress’ substance abuse issues.

Panettiere, 33, claimed that she was forced to sign over full-custody of her daughter, Kaya, now seven, to her ex-partner, Wladimir Klitschko, 46, in 2018, after spending years battling drug and alcohol addiction.

Now, during a new interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, her mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and guest host Kelly Osbourne on an upcoming episode of Pinkett Smith’s show Red Talk Table, the Nashville star opened up about the impact it had on her then-three-year-old daughter.

She claimed that being taken away from her mother at such a young age ‘traumatized’ the little girl, and remembered a ‘heart-stopping’ moment that Klitschko told her that Kaya wanted to refer to other women as ‘mommy.’ 

Hayden Panettiere said she was ‘horrified’ when her daughter asked to call other women ‘mommy’ after the child went to live with her father in Ukraine four years ago

Panettiere, 33, claimed that she was forced to sign over full-custody of Kaya, now seven, to her ex-partner, Wladimir Klitschko, 46, in 2018, after spending years battling substance abuse

Panettiere, 33, claimed that she was forced to sign over full-custody of Kaya, now seven, to her ex-partner, Wladimir Klitschko, 46, in 2018, after spending years battling substance abuse

While speaking to Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Kelly Osbourne on the show Red Talk Table, the Nashville star opened up about the impact it had on Kaya

While speaking to Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Kelly Osbourne on the show Red Talk Table, the Nashville star opened up about the impact it had on Kaya

‘I remember her dad calling me, and he said, “Kaya’s going around and asking other women if she could call them mommy,”‘ she recalled in a clip that was obtained by Today.

‘My breath hitched and my heart stopped. He was laughing, he thought it was funny but it was horrifying to me. He didn’t get it.’

Hayden explained that she thought her daughter trying to call other women ‘mommy’ was a ‘trauma reaction’ to being separated from her. 

Panettiere (pictured with Kaya in 2017) claimed that being taken away from her mother at such a young age 'traumatized' the little girl

Panettiere (pictured with Kaya in 2017) claimed that being taken away from her mother at such a young age ‘traumatized’ the little girl

‘That’s a cry for help,’ she stated. ‘I said immediately, “Can I talk to my daughter?” When I asked her about it, she went into “goo-goo ga-ga” speak, just talking gibberish. 

‘I never heard her do that before. It was a trauma that she was experiencing, me not being around.’

During the interview, which premieres in full today at 12pm, the Heroes alum also took aim at her former partner, accusing him of giving her no choice when it came to signing over full-custody of Kaya.

She hinted that the former boxing professional – whom she had dated on-and-off for nine years before they split for good in 2018 – made her give up her daughter, calling it ‘the most heartbreaking thing she’s ever had to do in her life.’ 

‘It wasn’t a discussion,’ she told the hosts in a sneak peak that was obtained by People. ‘Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting.’

She added that she ‘didn’t even know it was happening until Kaya was already [in Ukraine].’ 

Panettiere previously revealed that she had started abusing drugs and alcohol when she was just 15 years old – and that her addiction spiraled out of control while she was battling postpartum depression after Kaya’s birth in 2014. 

‘If [Klitschko] had come to me and said, “I think because of where you’re at right now and your struggles that you’re having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while…”‘ she trailed off.

Panettiere recalled a 'heart-stopping' moment that Klitschko told her that Kaya wanted to refer to other women as 'mommy'

Panettiere recalled a 'heart-stopping' moment that Klitschko told her that Kaya wanted to refer to other women as 'mommy'

Panettiere recalled a ‘heart-stopping’ moment that Klitschko told her that Kaya wanted to refer to other women as ‘mommy’

'He said, "Kaya's going around and asking other women if she could call them mommy,"' Panettiere (seen with Kaya in 2020) said. 'My breath hitched and my heart stopped'

‘He said, “Kaya’s going around and asking other women if she could call them mommy,”‘ Panettiere (seen with Kaya in 2020) said. ‘My breath hitched and my heart stopped’

‘If I had probably had enough of a conversation I would’ve said, “OK, that makes sense, I get it, I’ll come there to visit,” stuff like that.

‘It was the worst signing those papers, the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever, ever had to do in my life.

‘I was trying to tell myself that if I’m not OK – if I’m not good, then I cannot be the best mom to [Kaya].

‘I was going through such a hard time that I knew the most unselfish thing I could do was to make that hard decision and just try to work on myself.’

Panettiere explained that as soon as she was ‘better,’ she was hoping that Kaya would go back to splitting her time between both of her parents, ‘But that didn’t happen,’ she added. 

She said she since tried to ‘explain that Kaya needs her mom’ to Klitschko, but claimed that he hasn’t listened to her.

‘As much as I have tried to explain how much she needs her mom and how it’s going to rear its ugly head later when she is older – it could turn into anger, depression, whatever it is, but it’s going to be a trauma,’ she added.

‘You can explain it to someone who doesn’t understand or believe that concept until you’re blue in the face.’ 

In another clip, posted to the show’s Facebook page, the 33-year-old wanted people to know that she never chose to ‘throw out’ or ‘give away’ her daughter, when the hosts asked her what the most ‘misunderstood’ thing was about her.

‘The comments people made or the things they assumed about my situation with my daughter we just so off and heartbreaking,’ she continued. 

Hayden explained that she thought her daughter trying to call other women 'mommy' was a 'trauma reaction' to being separated from her. Kaya is pictured in 2020

Hayden explained that she thought her daughter trying to call other women ‘mommy’ was a ‘trauma reaction’ to being separated from her. Kaya is pictured in 2020

During the interview, Panettiere also claimed that her ex (seen with Kaya in 2020) didn't give her a choice when it came to signing over full-custody of Kaya. She said: 'It wasn't a discussion'

During the interview, Panettiere also claimed that her ex (seen with Kaya in 2020) didn’t give her a choice when it came to signing over full-custody of Kaya. She said: ‘It wasn’t a discussion’

‘There was a cover of a magazine … and it said something like, “Why Hayden chose to give up her daughter.” I was just like, this is so misrepresented. 

‘People were like, “How dare you?” and, “You’re a horrible mother,” and, “I could never do that to my child.”

‘It was tough and it took me a long time to be able to talk about it. It’s scary, you don’t want to piss anyone off – especially the person who has control of your child.’

It appears that Kaya still lives with her father, but it’s unclear where the pair are currently residing amid Ukraine’s war with Russia.

After the country got invaded in February, Hayden revealed in an Instagram post that her daughter was ‘safe and not in Ukraine’ anymore, but she has not specified where they’re living now.

Back in July, the former child star, who began acting at the age of five, spoke out about her past battle with addiction, telling People that it started when she was just 15 – one year before she began filming the hit TV series Heroes.

She claimed that members of her team began giving her ‘happy pills’ at the time in an effort to make her seem more ‘peppy’ during interviews. 

‘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,’ she said. 

‘As I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn’t live without.’

Panettiere explained that as soon as she was 'better,' she was hoping that Kaya would go back to splitting her time between both of her parents, 'But that didn't happen,' she added

Panettiere explained that as soon as she was ‘better,’ she was hoping that Kaya would go back to splitting her time between both of her parents, ‘But that didn’t happen,’ she added

The 33-year-old wanted people to know that she never chose to 'throw out' or 'give away' her daughter, when the hosts asked her what the most 'misunderstood' thing was about her

The 33-year-old wanted people to know that she never chose to ‘throw out’ or ‘give away’ her daughter, when the hosts asked her what the most ‘misunderstood’ thing was about her

Panettiere told the outlet that she did not drink while she was pregnant with Kaya, but that she she fell off the wagon soon after her daughter was born. 

‘I would have the shakes when I woke up and could only function with sipping alcohol,’ she recalled.

‘[Sending Kaya away] was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But I wanted to be a good mom to her – and sometimes that means letting them go.’ 

Panettiere previously revealed that she had started abusing drugs and alcohol when she was just 15 years old (pictured) - and that her addiction spiraled out of control while she was battling postpartum depression after Kaya's birth in 2014

Panettiere previously revealed that she had started abusing drugs and alcohol when she was just 15 years old (pictured) – and that her addiction spiraled out of control while she was battling postpartum depression after Kaya’s birth in 2014

Speaking to Good Morning America, the actress also explained that her battle with postpartum depression made her alcoholism all the more difficult to deal with – especially because she couldn’t see where her battles with substance abuse ‘ended’ and where her depression ‘began.’ 

‘I didn’t have any negative feelings towards my child, I just knew I was deeply depressed. And I didn’t know where the alcoholism was ending and the postpartum was beginning and I ran myself pretty ragged,’ she said.

‘People around me were more concerned about my usage of alcohol than they ever were about the postpartum depression.’ 

She added that many of those around her were quick to pass off her postpartum depression as being ‘overly emotional’ or acting like ‘a crazy woman,’ which in turn made her feel all the more isolated. 

‘I felt like I was walking blind and there was nobody there that was able to support me in the way I needed to be supported,’ she added.

‘And I don’t like to ask for help either. You know, I want to be that strong, stoic woman, but when you see a [previously] happy-go-lucky girl… suddenly on the floor in a puddle of mess and alcohol, you’ve got to know something is wrong.’

After Kaya moved to Europe, Panettiere said her drinking continued to worsen – to the point where she had to be hospitalized with jaundice. 

‘Doctors told me my liver was going to give out,’ she recalled to People. ‘I was no longer a 20-year-old who could just bounce right back.’ 

It appears that Kaya still lives with her father (pictured in March 2022), but it's unclear where the pair are currently residing amid Ukraine's war with Russia

It appears that Kaya still lives with her father (pictured in March 2022), but it’s unclear where the pair are currently residing amid Ukraine’s war with Russia

Panettiere said she since tried to 'explain that Kaya needs her mom' to Klitschko, but claimed that he hasn't listened to her

Panettiere said she since tried to 'explain that Kaya needs her mom' to Klitschko, but claimed that he hasn't listened to her

Panettiere said she since tried to ‘explain that Kaya needs her mom’ to Klitschko, but claimed that he hasn’t listened to her

But when Panettiere realized her life was at risk, she finally found the strength to seek treatment for her addictions and ultimately entered rehab for eight months. 

However, she added to GMA that her experiences in rehab was difficult because she was identified specifically as an alcoholic, rather than someone also battling postpartum depression, which meant she struggled to make herself heard. 

The actress (seen in the show Nashville) previously claimed that members of her team began giving her 'happy pills' at age 15 in an effort to make her seem more 'peppy' during interview

The actress (seen in the show Nashville) previously claimed that members of her team began giving her ‘happy pills’ at age 15 in an effort to make her seem more ‘peppy’ during interview

‘Oh, it was horrible,’ she said. ‘Once you’re the identified patient as the alcoholic – and not as a girl, a woman going through postpartum depression – then they don’t believe anything that comes [out of] your mouth. 

‘So even when you’re telling the truth, even when you’re doing well, I’ve been told “No”, almost gaslit, and told, “No, I wasn’t.”

‘It’s frustrating. It’s heartbreaking. You want to break down and cry, which makes you look even worse.

‘But not being believed, I think to anybody not being believed is – when they’re telling the truth – is painful.’

While the actress is now sober, she admitted at the time that her struggles are still far from over. 

‘I’m good [but] it’s an everyday battle, it really is,’ she shared. ‘I’m grateful to say I’m sober today.’ 

She also told People: ‘It’s an everyday choice, and I’m checking in with myself all the time. But I’m just so grateful to be part of this world again, and I will never take it for granted again.’ 

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