Ahead Of Scream 6, Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Addiction Issues

Hayden Panettiere on the phone in Scream 4
(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Actress Hayden Panettiere has been working since she was a young girl, growing up before our eyes in projects like Remember the Titans and Heroes. She also had a notable role in Wes Craven’s Scream 4, and she’s expected to reprise her role as Kirby Reed in an upcoming slasher sequel. But ahead of Scream 6, Panettiere is opening up about her addiction issues for the first time with the public.

While fans can’t wait to see Hayden Panettiere return to the big screen, she’s also using this new spotlight to be honest about her issues with opioid and alcohol. In a recent honest chat with People, Panettiere revealed that she secretly spent years battling her addictions. Combined with postpartum depression, the 32 year-old actress was in a bad place. As she shared,

I was on top of the world and I ruined it. I'd think I hit rock bottom, but then there's that trap door that opens.

As Hayden Panettiere revealed, eventually her body became physically dependent on alcohol; she would wake up with the shakes until sipping on something. And her substance issues began at an early age, when she would be given pills to be more alert and peppy during red carpet interviews by someone on her team. So while Panettiere seemingly had it all as a young star, she was definitely facing some demons in privacy.

This might be a surprise to even Hayden Panettiere’s most loyal fans, as the actress has continued working throughout her life. After ending her four-season run in Heroes and her fan favorite role in Scream 4, Panettiere took another major TV role in Nashville opposite Connie Britton. On top of the already grueling hours that come with filming a show, this role also required Panettiere to sing, as well as play a character who in some ways mirrored her own life. She shared how the work helped keep her in line for years, saying:

My saving grace is that I couldn't be messy while on set and working. But things kept getting out of control [off set]. And as I got older, the drugs and alcohol became something I almost couldn't live without.

This private struggle might explain why Hayden Panettiere seemingly took a break from the spotlight following the end of her Nashville run. She hasn’t filmed any TV or film projects in years, but that’s about to change with Scream 6. The recent 2022 sequel confirmed her character Kirby Reed was alive, and she was later cast in the upcoming horror movie. And with Neve Campbell seemingly not returning as Sidney Prescott, Panettiere role as a returning character feels all the more significant.

While Hayden Panettiere has obviously faced some harrowing issues regarding her sobriety journey, she does seem hopeful. During her same interview with People, Panettiere definitely left things on a high note, saying:

This hasn't been easy and there were a lot of ups and downs. But I don't regret even the ugliest things that have happened to me. I feel incredibly accomplished. And I feel like I have a second chance.

Perhaps her role in Scream 6 will serve as the beginning of a Hayden Panettiere renaissance. She’s always been a talented actress, and perhaps working will be a different experience now that she’s dealing with her opioid and alcohol issues. 

Scream 6 is currently expected to hit theaters on March 31st, 2023. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.