In photos first obtained by In Touch Weekly, Panettiere and Zach appeared to be in good spirits as they walked around New York City on September 4.
While the twosome were holding hands, a source close to the Hickerson family told the magazine that the Golden Globe nominee and Zach’s relationship is “not romantic.”
“They have been friends for as long as she’s been dating Brian; Zach and Brian are close,” the insider said.
Brian’s relationship with Panettiere hasn’t been as easy-going, however. The aspiring actor was taken into custody on May 2 for domestic violence after a night out in Hollywood with Panettiere. Later that month, a judge granted a prosecutor-requested protective order, which stated that Brian, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was not to come within 100 yards of the Heroes alum. The judge also ordered Brian not to contact Panettiere via phone, email or any other third party.
During a July hearing in Los Angeles, a judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the charge against the Brian to stick. Officer Amanda Findley testified that the Nashville actress had “marks on her neck” and “bruising on both her arms” on the night of the alleged incident.
After the protective order was issued, an insider told Us Weekly that Panettiere’s loved ones were worried she was still in touch with the real estate agent, who she was first linked to in August 2018.
“It’s disturbing to family and friends that Hayden and Brian may not be following the court order,” the insider told Us in May. “There is not one single person out there who isn’t concerned about Hayden. What Brian did to Hayden is unacceptable behavior, and it’s not to be tolerated.”
The source added that “violating the court order puts both of them in jeopardy.”
“They could both get in serious trouble,” insider explained. “Hayden’s friends and family are giving her space because she is going through a lot. They are being supportive as much as they can and as much as Hayden is willing to take it all in.”
Scroll through to see the pics from Panettiere’s day out with her beau’s bro: