the red table

Hayden Panettiere Says Signing Away Custody of Her Daughter Was ‘Heartbreaking’

Hayden Panettiere, bottom left, on Red Table Talk. Photo: Jordan Fisher

Hayden Panettiere appears on the September 28 episode of Red Table Talk — hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris, and guest host Kelly Osbourne — opening up about the “very upsetting” decision to give full custody of her daughter, Kaya, to Kaya’s father, Ukrainian boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko. At the time of the custody decision, the actress was trying to manage a substance-use disorder that had begun in her teens and was spending time in rehab. “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’ … if I had probably had enough of a conversation, I would’ve said, ‘Okay, that makes sense, I get it, I’ll come there to visit and stuff like that,’” she said.

“Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting,” Panettiere continued. “I mean, it was the worst signing those papers, the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever, ever had to do in my life.” She had originally thought she would maintain some custody over her daughter, but that scenario became impossible. “I was gonna go work on myself,” she added. “I was gonna get better, and when I got better, then things would change and she could come to me and I could have my time with her. But that didn’t happen.”

Hayden Panettiere Describes ‘Heartbreaking’ Custody Choice