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In an exclusive interview with People, actress Hayden Panettiere opened up about her struggles with addiction.


The "Heroes" star went in-depth about how her experience as a child actor laid the foundation for her addiction and depression, explaining,

"Being a child actor is horrible. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. It's full of people who want things from you, who need things from you."

She detailed how the adults around her encouraged her to take drugs, citing an example where an adult on her team continuously gave her "happy pills" before events.

"I had someone who I was supposed to work with, I was working with, who represented me, and she introduced me at fifteen years old to the 'happy pill.' And I had absolutely no idea at that time what really drugs were or what addiction was, and she would give me this happy pill before I walked down the red carpet so that I would be peppy in the interviews. I had no idea what door that would open for me when it came to addiction."

It wasn't just "happy pills," as Panettiere also recounted being served alcohol at a young age.

"Probably when I was 13, I think there were several parties that I went to that I was served alcohol no problem. I didn't even ask for it, it was just offered. And the people that I was with—who were, again, supposed to be protecting me—were hammered and drunk."

Eventually, Panettiere was able to begin healing. In the past year alone, the actress has undergone both trauma therapy and inpatient treatment, sharing,

"I put a lot of work into myself, and I had to be willing to be incredibly honest."

Panettiere is returning to the screen to reprise her fan-favorite character in the next "Scream" film. She is also focusing largely on her work with Hoplon International, the charity she founded in March to raise funds for Ukraine's defense.

Watch the full cover story below.

Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Addiction: "I Was in a Cycle of Self-Destruction" | PEOPLE www.youtube.com

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