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Hayden Panettiere Says Being On "Nashville" Was "Traumatizing"

This post contains discussion of substance abuse.

Unless you spent the last 15 years living under a rock, you're probably aware of Hayden Panettiere's run on the hit TV show Nashville.

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
Mark Levine / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Nashville was on the air for six seasons — four that aired on ABC, and two on CMT — from 2012 to 2018. Hayden starred on the show throughout, but during her time filming, she struggled with substance abuse issues.

Screenshot from "Nashville"
Abc / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Back in 2022, she opened up about how she left the public eye for years to deal with opioid and alcohol addiction — and last year, she told the New York Times that the content of the scripts she was receiving for Nashville were exacerbating her substance abuse issues.

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
Nina Westervelt / Variety via Getty Images

“When I went home after acting out what I was really going through, the last thing I wanted to do was properly manage or talk about what I was feeling in a healthy way,” she said. “So I turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms.”

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

In a new interview with the Messenger, Hayden elaborated on how filming Nashville contributed to her struggles — and it sounds like things were pretty rough. She even referred to being on the show as a "traumatizing" experience.

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

“Straight from the beginning, it was like, I’m dating a football player, [and then] Juliette dates a football player,” Hayden said, suggesting that the writers were drawing from her own IRL experiences for her character's plot lines.

Screenshot from "Nashville"
Katherine Bombay-Thornton / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

"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…"

Screenshot from "Nashville"
Katherine Bombay-Thornton / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

"They weren’t doing their homework. They weren’t creating new storylines. 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.”

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
/ Emiley Schweich/Everett Collection

“I didn’t have time to take care of myself [and] to think about and go through the pain I was experiencing physically [and] emotionally,” she continued. “I just wanted to drum it out and watch mindless television and great shows. Anything to keep my mind off of that because I knew that next day I was going to be back at it again."

Closeup of Hayden Panettiere
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

"I was like, tear central. I don’t even think on a soap opera that I cried as much [as I did] on Nashville.”

Screenshot from "Nashville"
Bob D'Amico / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection

You can read the entire interview here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and find more resources here.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.