Hayden Panettiere Details Her Experience with Postpartum Depression: ‘It Is One of the Most Debilitating, Scary, Guilty Feelings’

03/07/2016 at 01:15 PM ET

Hayden Panettiere is relieved that she’s been able to open up about her struggle with postpartum depression, but admits she was once scared of sharing her truth.

“I was always so terrified that people weren’t going to accept me,” the 26-year-old tells Yahoo! Style in a new interview of revealing that she had PPD.

“I finally just went, ‘I’m tired of living afraid. I’m tired of living in fear of what people are going to think, so, you know, I’m just going to put it all out there on the table and I’m not going to worry about the judgment.’ ”

The Nashville actress — who shares daughter Kaya Evdokia, nearly 15 months, with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko — entered treatment last October, and was immediately “floored” by the outpouring of support she received.

“The more open I was, the more acceptance I got from people,” she told Yahoo!. “I got so much support and so much love.”

Hayden Panettiere People's Choice Awards
Doug Inglish

Hayden Panettiere People's Choice Awards
Doug Inglish

Panettiere added, “I feel much more exposed, yes, but in a great way.”

What the star doesn’t appreciate, however, is the sometimes negative stigma that surrounds PPD.

She says of critics: “It’s like you have no idea what you’re talking about. If you think for one second that a mother wants to feel that way toward her child, you’re outta your mind. It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel.”

Continuing, “That a mother would not be able to connect with their child, would not be able to get a grip, or would not know what’s going on, for anybody to say that it’s false or created by us, you must have your head examined.”

Hayden Panettiere People's Choice Awards
Doug Inglish

On top of her personal journey, Panettiere was also faced with her Nashville character’s own struggle with PPD — an unplanned coincidence. In fact, Juliette’s battle has extended past Panettiere’s own.

“It was strange having to throw myself back into that frame of mind,” she shared. “The way I do things is to pull from my own personal experience and sometimes even turn myself into what I’m portraying so that I can pull from my life and step into that person’s shoes by being able to relate.”

— Lindsay Kimble

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Showing 21 comments

Teiss on

Courageous young woman for seeking help.

Anonymous on

Okay, this lkke the 5th time. You had post partum and it was super hard. Take your millions of dollars and your awesome career, husband, and perfectly healthy kid and move on.

Jessica on

@Anonymous – If you are tired of seeing her story, quit reading about it. Certainly no one is forcing you. Go be a negative Nancy somewhere else.

Kudos to Hayden for sharing her openly sharing her experience, allowing others to know that they aren’t alone and that there is help for this condition.

The Free Woman on

$hit almost killed me! I’m so glad she is okay now!

Carolyn on

Does she want to talk about postpartum depression, or her giant squeezed together breasts?

julie on

“negative stigma” is redundant. There is no such thing as a “positive stigma” (also no such thing as a positive omen, but that’s another problem).

Why does this piece include lots of solo “sexy” pictures of her and not a picture of her with her daughter?

Kate Middleman on

I love that she spoke openly about this. I had PPD, nowhere near as severe, and felt so ashamed to talk about it. Bless her for using her celebrity for good.

gymluv on

Good for you Hayden for being so open. Your recovery has given other families hope. So glad you got the help you needed and feel well again.

Bre on

I feel like people need to stop saying “negative feelings towards their child” I’ve had PPD after both of my pregnancies and NEVER felt negative towards my children. There are lots of cases like mine. So when I open up about my PPD people automatically assume I wanted to hurt or leave my child.

Sarah on

Happy for her to open up about PPD, it helps other women to deal with the PPD. Kudos to her.

torpian on

Hayden is a great role model and is getting more beautiful with age. I think she’the most relevant celebrity in the world today and hope to see more articles about her in the future.

Mandi on

She was right to be scared to share her experience, people in general can be mean and cruel. So glad she was able to get the help she needed and enjoy her sweet baby.

Oun on

Glad she is honest about her postpartum depression experience and share it to help other women to deal with it.

Katherine Lovelylocks on

I’m wondering if postpardom is really from a hormonal imbalace after giving birth, because your hormones would be all over the place I imagine. I’m wondering if it can be treated holistically with supplements and herbs. Like for example Vitex which woman can take while nursing to help them produce more milk. It would be very interesting to see any studies.

Victoria on

She is such a role model and a honest person! So happy she is seeking help and feeling well now.

Anonymous on

Bre, having it, you should know that everyone’s experience is different. They can’t control how they feel, what they say or do. You should know that. Let’s not make mother’s feel bad.

Kris on

@Katherine, I definitely think it is hormone related. I did In Vitro and my first round was awful. They had my hormones all out of whack. I was a mess! Sad, crying, hot flashes, angry. When they changed my meds, my hormones were balanced and I was a new person. It was amazing.

Anonymous on

How about entering treatment AND keeping it as private as possible? Why the need to “put it all out there on the table and I’m not going to worry about the judgment.”???? Just seak treatment and stay quiet and work through it privately.

Anonymous on


Joanna on

I had pretty severe PPD in 2000 and it was worse thing that could happen to a new mother.
I was 35 and married 10 years before we had our daughter, she was planned and very much wanted.
Then, I had her and 30 days later I was standing in my shower wondering what the best way to end my life would be. I stopped eating and could not function. It’s the blackest hole you can imagine! In 2000 it wasn’t as talked about it like it is today and my doctors were kinda clueless. I was finally put on an antidepressant and in 4 weeks the fog lifted.
I really fell so bad for any mom to suffer with it, but there is light at the end of the very dark tunnel.

Edyie on

How do I say this without sounding like a cold hearted bitch? My heart goes out to women who suffer from this, but she’s been talking about it for months now. She is milking this for all it’s worth. Sorry but this must be at least the 5th article about it, what else is there to say.