Hayden Panettiere Breaks Silence on 'Abusive Relationship' With Ex-Boyfriend Brian Hickerson Following His Arrest

Hayden Panettiere is opening up about being in an abusive relationship after her ex-boyfriend Brian Hickerson was arrested for domestic violence and assault. The actress used Instagram to share a message declaring that she is "coming forward" about what she experienced, sharing that she wants to share her story in effort to help someone else who may be going through a similar situation.

"I am coming forward with the truth about what happened to me with the hope that my story will empower others in abusive relationships to get the help they need and deserve," Panettiere's statement read. "I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again. I'm grateful for my support system, which helped me find the courage to regain my voice and my life." "For anyone else affected by abuse and needing support, please know that you can call 1-800-799-7233," the actress added in her caption. "If you're unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474. You are not alone."

A source told Entertainment Tonight that Hickerson was charged in an eight-count felony complaint alleging domestic violence and assault on Thursday night. He was booked that day and his bail is set at $320,000. Hickerson was arrested two days after Panettiere was granted a restraining order against him when she filed to register an out-of-state restraining order to protect her from Hickerson in the state of California, ET reports.

A source said that Panettiere reported multiple instances of "extreme domestic violence" perpetrated by Hickerson during their year and a half long relationship to the Teton County Sheriff in Wyoming, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Santa Monica Police Department. In May 2019, Hickerson was arrested on a domestic violence charge and released on bail, and on Valentine's Day, he was arrested for allegedly punching Panettiere in the face.

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"After suffering for years as the victim of psychological, emotional and severe physical abuse, Hayden Panettiere has begun the process of taking back her life," Panettiere's attorney, Alan Jackson, said in a statement. "Hayden has found the strength and courage to share the truth about her abuse and her abuser, and she intends to assist the prosecution to see that justice is served," the statement continued. "As a survivor, she recognizes that her arduous journey of healing has just begun."

A source close to the 30-year-old shared that she has been undergoing successful treatment for alcohol abuse issues and is focused on recovery. "She's taking this big step as part of her recovery process," the source said. "She hopes that it will help someone else who is dealing with emotional or physical abuse."