Hayden Panettiere Says ‘Nashville’ Writers Ripped Stories From Her Real-Life Troubles

Hayden Panettiere is speaking out about her time on the 2010s TV drama Nashville, saying it was “traumatizing” to play a character whose personal troubles echoed her own.

“I felt like I was acting out my own life,” Panettiere says in a new interview with The Messenger. “Straight from the beginning, it was like, I’m dating a football player, [and then] Juliette dates a football player. And then they turned her into an alcoholic. Then they turned to her leaving her daughter and going to this crazy [place] in Europe, and it was very obvious.”

Panettiere, who dated NFL player Scotty McKnight from 2011 to 2012, has been open about her struggles with addiction and depression. She told People in 2022 that she “almost couldn’t live without” opioid drugs and alcohol earlier in her life — and that between those addictions and the severe postpartum depression she experienced following the birth of her daughter Kaya, there was “just this gray color” in her life.

Nashville, Hayden Panettiere - 'What I Cannot Change'

Mark Levine/ABC

In her interview with The Messenger, Panettiere says that the Nashville writers “weren’t doing their homework” while crafting the storyline of her character, country singer Juliette Barnes.

“They weren’t creating new storylines,” she says. “They were just looking at my life and going, ‘Oh, let’s just take what she’s going through and put our little spin on it.’ And then, ta-da! It’s done and done.”

And though there were “such great things” about her personal life while she lived in Nashville, Tennessee, her years on the ABC-turned-CMT series “were also very traumatizing because I felt like I was acting out my own life.”

Plus, the 12-to-20-hour days on set meant she didn’t have time to tend to her physical and emotional wellbeing. So she just spent her off-hours doing “anything to keep [her] mind off of that” ahead of the next day’s work. “I was like, tear central,” she says. “I don’t even think on a soap opera that I cried as much [as I did] on Nashville.”

Panettiere, who made a screen comeback last year in the big-screen film Scream VI, has previously alluded to her discomfort filming Juliette’s storylines, telling People that her years on Nashville were “really tough years.”

“I could relate to a lot of those storylines, like the alcoholism and postpartum depression,” she explained at the time. “They hit close to home.”

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