Hayden Panettiere Accuses Nashville Writers of Exploiting Her Real-Life Woes for Drama: ‘They Weren’t Creating New Storylines’

Hayden Panettiere is alleging that Nashville‘s writers lightly fictionalized her own real-life problems when coming up with storylines for her character on the country-music drama, a situation she found “traumatizing.”

Though the actress has previously acknowledged that “they really wrote my life into it” when she starred opposite Connie Britton on the ABC series, in a new interview with The Messenger, she now accuses the show’s writing team of “not doing their homework.”

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She adds: “They weren’t creating new storylines. They were just looking at my life and going, ‘Oh, let’s just take what she’s going through and put our little spin on it.’ And then, ta-da! It’s done and done.”

Panettiere references Juliette’s Season 1 hasty marriage and even hastier annulment to pro athlete Sean Butler, played by Tilky Jones, as well as later seasons’ plots that showed Juliette struggling with alcoholism and post-partum depression and joining a cult.

“Straight from the beginning, it was like, I’m dating a football player, [and then] Juliette dates a football player. And then they turned her into an alcoholic. Then they turned to her leaving her daughter and going to this crazy [place] in Europe,” says the actress, who is about to embark on a speaking tour titled “A Conversation With Hayden Panettiere.”

TVLine has reached out to multiple former Nashville executive producers for comment.


In comments similar to those she made on a 2022 episode of Red Table Talk, Panettiere says playing out the personally resonant scripts made her feel like she had no respite from her troubles. And because Juliette was so frequently upset, “I was like, tear central. I don’t even think on a soap opera that I cried as much [as I did] on Nashville.”

Panettiere has previously spoken publicly about going to treatment roughly four months after Kaya, her daughter with Wladimir Klitschko, was born in December 2014; she has said she was drinking heavily at the time and was diagnosed with postpartum depression at the facility where she sought help. She had two stays before Nashville ended in 2018, and later checked in for an eight-month stay.

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Nashville viewers will remember that in October 2015, Panettiere took a very public step back from the show, then in its fourth season. She returned to set the following January but then resumed treatment shortly after the season’s production wrapped.

She appeared in the show’s final two seasons; Juliette’s involvement in the aforementioned cult created a reason for Panettiere to be off-screen for a number of episodes.

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