Earlier this week, the Heroes alum, 30, filed for an out-of-state protective order against Hickerson in her current home state of California. She previously obtained the order elsewhere after he was arrested in Wyoming in February for allegedly punching Panettiere in the face. The Wyoming incident followed another domestic violence dispute with the former Nashville star in May 2019, and Hickerson pleaded not guilty to both charges. Now, Panettiere is hoping her ex will be brought to justice.
“I am coming forward with the truth about what happened to me with the hope that my story will empower others in abusive relationships to get the help they need and deserve,” she told Us Weekly in a statement on Friday, July 17. “I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again. I’m grateful for my support system, which helped me find the courage to regain my voice and my life.”
A source close with the legal process tells Us that Hickerson was charged on Thursday, July 16, “in an eight count felony complaint alleging domestic violence and assault.” The arrest comes after Panettiere “recently reported to the Teton county sheriff in Wyoming, the LAPD and Santa Monica police department multiple serious instances of extreme domestic violence perpetrated by Hickerson against Hayden during their year and a half long relationship,” the source adds.
Following news of Hickerson’s arrest and the Bring It On: All or Nothing star’s restraining order, her attorney, Alan Jackson, acknowledged the actress’ strength and courage as a survivor of abuse.
“After suffering for years as the victim of psychological, emotional and severe physical abuse, Hayden Panettiere has begun the process of taking back her life,” Jackson told Us in a statement on Friday. “Hayden has found the strength and courage to share the truth about her abuse and her abuser, and she intends to assist the prosecution to see that justice is served. As a survivor, she recognizes that her arduous journey of healing has just begun.”
Earlier this year, an insider revealed that Panettiere was “in a good place” after she and Hickerson called off their romance. Since her split, she has been seeking the support of family and friends, including ex-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, who was previously “very concerned” for Panettiere’s safety. The formerly engaged couple split in August 2018 after welcoming their daughter, Kaya, four years earlier.
Now, a separate source close to Panettiere says that the Remember the Titans actress is continuing on her path to healing since ending her relationship with Hickerson.
“She’s taking this step as part of her recovery process,” the insider adds. “She’s been undergoing successful treatment for alcohol abuse issues and is focused on healing, sobriety and recovery. This is a turning point for her as she stands up for herself, her family and the many other people impacted by intimate partner violence.”
For anyone affected by abuse and needing support, call 1-800-799-7233, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.