She may be young—just 23—but Hayden Panettiere’s had a lifetime of experience. She landed her first gig when she was only 11 months old, in a Playskool commercial; had multiyear parts in two soap operas; and by the time she was 16, had been cast as the cheerleader who saves the world on Heroes. But she worried that this last role could leave her typecast and wanted her next important move to be a bold one. And was it ever: These days Panettiere is wowing everyone as the sexy, conniving Juliette Barnes on Nashville and hitting the Top 40 charts as a singer too, with “Telescope,” a song she performed on the show. In person this superstar is nothing like her diva character: Wearing jeans with a sweater over a geometric-print tank, her hair slicked back in a bun, she gave Lauren Brown a huge hug, settled in for a cocktail, and opened up about her career and personal life—past, present, and future. Listen in.
Rumor has it you’re back together with Wladimir Klitschko? [Huge smile.] I think it’s pretty obvious. I’m not going to deny it.
How does a girl from New York transplanted to Nashville meet a Ukrainian boxer? [Laughs.] Life is like a lunchroom at school. In this industry you’ve got little individual tables of actors, singers, rap stars, this, that, the other. But it’s a big industry that also encompasses anyone in the public eye. An acquaintance of ours did a coffee-table book, and the proceeds went to genocide prevention. We met at the party for the launch of the book; we’ve been friends for five years—we’ve never not been close.
So what’s different this time? It’s like the 2.0 version. I’ve always had great relationships and stayed really good friends with the guys I’ve dated. It blows my mind sometimes that us getting together has gotten so much attention. It’s like, Really? This is breaking news?
How would you say your parents have affected your relationships? They split up when I was 18. There was this whole thing, and my dad went to jail. [In 2008 her father was arrested for allegedly striking her mother in the face.] When it happened, I knew my denying it or saying it was false wasn’t going to do anything. People would just say, “Oh, she’s in denial.” My parents are really good people—they just are not meant to be together.
It seems that everyone in Hollywood is getting married younger and younger these days. What’s the timing going to be for you? I don’t really have a plan. I’ve lived a very big life, and I don’t feel my age, and I feel like I was born to be a mother. Sometimes people speak about [having kids] like, “Your life ends—you’re never going to be able to do anything again!” And I’m like, “What are you talking about?” Motherhood is the most beautiful, exciting thing, and there’s nothing that I feel like I can’t accomplish while having children in my life. I would sacrifice having more years of being wherever I want whenever I want for years with my kids.
Could you be with the father of your children now? It wouldn’t shock me!
Read the complete interview with Hayden Panettiere in the May issue of Glamour, on newsstands April 9.
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