Hayden Panettiere Is Giving Abusive Ex Brian Hickerson Another Chance

The real estate agent had previously been ordered to stay 100 yards away from the actress.

Hayden Panettiere is mentioning it all in a new interview with the New York Times. She’s opening up about her triumphant return to the big screen, getting sober, and the sudden loss of her brother — and rekindling with her ex Brian Hickerson following his 2021 prison sentence for domestic violence.

The two were in a tumultuous relationship for about four years, during the height of Panettiere’s alcohol and opioid addiction. In July 2022, Hickerson publicly called off their relationship for good. Since then, the couple has reconnected as friends over their shared journeys to sobriety.

Now, many months later, Panettiere has seemingly confirmed to the NYT that she and Hickerson, whom she affectionately called “babe” during her photo shoot, are romantically back together: “There are feelings there, yes.”

Hickerson’s first domestic violence charge came in 2019 when he engaged in an alcohol-fueled argument with Panettiere. He pleaded not guilty. According to Us Weekly, Hickerson was ordered not to “come within 100 yards of Panettiere or contact her via phone, email or any other third party.”

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The real estate agent was arrested once more on Valentine’s Day 2020 for punching Panettiere in the face. According to Page Six, he pleaded no contest to two felony counts of injuring the Nashville actress. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and four years of probation.

“He knows he deserved what happened to him,” Panettiere said of Hickerson’s jail sentence. Additionally, the pair getting back together was “contingent on him continuing on this road of recovery,” she noted.

Now that it’s out there, Panettiere is “self-conscious” about how her fans and the world will react to the news.

“I did not do any of this lightly,” she said. The couple has not yet made their first public appearance officially back together.

If you are in an abusive relationship and in need of crisis support, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, text 88788, or visit thehotline.org
Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more