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Hayden Panettiere reveals why she relapsed amid addiction battle that left her 'swollen and jaundiced'

The Scream VI actress spoke openly to Women's Health about her issues with addiction

Hayden Panettierre in a striped top on the beach
Melanie Macleod
Melanie MacleodWellness Editor
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Hayden Panettiere has spoken honestly about her addiction to alcohol and opioids in a frank new interview with Women's Health.

The 33-year-old shared that she first turned to alcohol in her 20s, while starring in Nashville, as an act of rebellion. "I was being told how to be and how to live by so many people in my life. I wanted certain decisions to be my own, and no one could stop me. What I put in my body was like an act of defiance," she said.

Hayden went on to share that she suffered from post-natal depression following the birth of her daughter in 2014 and although she should have taken anti-depressants, she avoided them as you can't take them while drinking alcohol.

Hayden Panettiere in a hoodie and bikini bottoms© Kimber Capriotti / Women’s Health
The full Hayden Panettiere interview can be read in the May issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale now’

A flare-up of a neck injury eventually saw her taking opioid painkillers. "I was in a lot of pain," she said. "My tolerance got so high so fast that it became a problem. I should have gone on antidepressants [to cope with the postnatal depression], but you have to find the right one that works for you. They don't mix well with alcohol, and I wasn't ready to stop drinking."

She checked into rehab in 2015, when a storyline in Nashville mirrored real life, with her character suffering postpartum depression.

 RELATED: Hayden Panettiere's complex feelings about abusive ex revealed 

"It was very difficult to go on set and to act out these feelings about these things that I was truly going through in my real life," Hayden explained.

Despite her spell in rehab, Hayden returned to drinking after she was unable to sleep.

"I struggled with sleep deprivation. Sleep is massive. It affects your motor skills, your ability to think and your overall body was like, 'enough,'."

Hayden Panettiere on the beach in an off-the-shoulder top© Kimber Capriotti / Women's Health
The full Hayden Panettiere interview can be read in the May issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale now

The star detailed that her face was swollen and she was jaundiced, leading her to see a liver specialist and eventually check back into treatment, embarking on a 12-step program to aid her recovery.

"I did a lot of work on myself. After eight months of intensive therapy, I felt like I had this blank canvas to work with," she told Women's Health.

May issue of Women's Health with Hayden Panettierre on the cover© Kimber Capriotti / Women's Health
The May issue of Women's Health is on sale now

You can find the full Hayden Panettiere shoot and interview in the May issue of Women's Health, on sale now.

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