Hayden Panettiere's friends and family are reportedly concerned for her amid her relationship with Brian Hickerson. A source told PEOPLE that Panettiere's loved ones “are begging her to straighten up and move ahead.”
“It is totally out of control and she has to get over this guy,” the source said of Hickerson, who faces a felony charge in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident.
“Her friends and family have been worried about her for quite a while, and things seem to have gotten worse,” the source adds. “She needs to do some soul-searching. For whatever reason, she continues this relationship, but it has done nothing but take her down lower. It’s a sad situation.”
Panettiere, 29, first started dating Hickerson last August, shortly after reports that she and then-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, who is the father of her 4-year-old daughter Kaya, broke up.
"Hayden needs to surround herself with different types of people and get a hand on both her personal and professional life," the source said. "It's hard to imagine things getting any worse, but they could."
Kaya has apparently been living in the Ukraine with Klitschko, 43, ever since their split, although the Nashville actress shared a photo from vacation with her in February.
"Her life is in flux with her daughter living away, and she has other issues weighing on her mind," the source added.
A second source told the outlet that their "heart breaks for what Hayden must be going through."
“Hayden is a wonderful and talented girl who was so happy with her family,” the insider says. “I hope she can wade through whatever has gone wrong and get her life back together.”
Hickerson, 30, was arrested and released on bail in May on a domestic violence charge. Prosecutors alleged that Hickerson "willfully inflicted corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon Hayden P.," according to the felony complaint. He was charged with one count of felony domestic violence on May 23 and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Last week, when Hickerson appeared in court to hear testimony from the police officer who responded to the domestic violence call in May, a judge denied a motion to dismiss criminal charges against Hickerson and declined to consider a lesser misdemeanor charge, RadarOnline reported.
The judge also detailed the alleged abuse. "I understand he has no record, but the problem I have, counsel, is that this was not the first attack,” the judge said, according to Radar. “Just very recently, prior to this in Puerto Rico, something happened … and those are the marks on the victim. This happened twice this time. It wasn’t enough for him to cause her nose to bleed by hitting her with an open palm … he followed her into the bedroom and was the aggressor again, causing that severe swelling and bruising on the cheek and marks on her neck. Give that, in my mind, the evidence has shown these are three different attacks by your client on this victim, once in Puerto Rico and twice that night … I’m going to hold him on the felony.”
If convicted, Hickerson faces up to four years in prison.0comments
Panettiere's family told PEOPLE that "We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision. It's an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women."
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.