Hayden Panettiere got papped holding hands with her ex boyfriend’s brother

Hayden Panettiere has been in a horrifically abusive relationship with a man named Brian Hickerson for about a year. A judge issued a restraining order on Hayden’s behalf against him following his arrest on May 2 for abusing Hayden. Cops have been called to Hayden’s house four other times that we know about for domestic incidents. The details of Brian’s arrest were disturbing and I won’t get into them, but Hayden’s family was rightfully concerned. In June, E! reported that Hayden had split from Brian and was trying to heal. Reports were somewhat conflicting about that because People reported in July that Hayden’s family was urging her to leave Brian. Well we know she’s moved on now as she’s been spotted out holding hands with Brian’s brother. Apparently she’s moved to New York in an attempt to separate herself from Brian. However Brian’s brother Zach is also in New York and just got photographed with Hayden. One of those photos is above and you can see it in full on E!’s site. Here’s their report.

Hayden Panettiere appears to be in good spirits after a chaotic few months with her ex-boyfriend, Brian Hickerson. In fact, the Nashville star was recently spotted holding hands with her ex’s brother, Zach Hickerson, in New York City.

According to an insider, the two walked arm-in-arm on Sept. 4 in the SoHo neighborhood. And even as photographers captured their every move, the source said they “continued holding hands, laughing and smiling.”

“They looked very comfortable. Like a real couple,” the insider shared of their afternoon stroll. “They looked playful, happy and also very close and affectionate.”

This news comes nearly four months after Brian was arrested for domestic violence for allegedly getting into a violent alteration with the 30-year-old actress. Additionally, he was ordered by a judge to stay away from Hayden and was prohibited from owning firearms. Following the court’s rules, the Nashville star separated herself from her boyfriend.

With so much going on in the actress’ life, a separate source told E! News that she “has been leaning on Zach with the hopes of getting over Brian.” However, those in Hayden’s inner circle aren’t too happy about it, according to our source.

“Many of those closest to her feel hurt by Hayden’s decision to spend time with Zach after they supported her move to NYC with the hopes that it would bring a fresh start to her life,” the source explained. “A month ago everyone was feeling very optimistic about her situation, but the consensus now is that Hayden simply doesn’t want to get her life back on track.”

But despite how close the 30-year-old actress and Zach have become, In Touch Weekly (who first broke the news) reports there is nothing “romantic” going on between them. A source close to the Hickerson family told the publication, “Hayden and Zach are just friends. They have been friends for as long as she’s been dating Brian.”

It appears Hayden is simply trying to moving on after her split with Hickerson.

[From E! Online]

Hayden wants us to know about this because she’s not really a paparazzi target lately, especially in New York. Someone got tipped off about this walk with her ex’s brother. Hopefully she’s happy and I hope that Zach is nothing at all like his brother. This seems like a very bad idea though, as would dating any of her ex’s friends. You’re not supposed to date an ex’s friends just in principle, but Hayden has even more reason to avoid any connections to Brian. She’s finally free of that relationship and would do well to separate herself entirely from it. I’m glad she’s not with him anymore, that’s a huge step, and that she’s safe now on the other coast. She’s making strides even if it looks like she’s making bad decisions. Be well Hayden.

With Brian:
Hayden Panettiere and Brian Hickerson out with Hayden's family in Florida


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

79 Responses to “Hayden Panettiere got papped holding hands with her ex boyfriend’s brother”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Sarah says:

    Possibly simply comforting a friend, nothing romantic?

  2. Lila says:

    Her drama makes me sad and worried for her.

    • Originaltessa says:

      Girl seems really screwed up. Postpartum seemingly kicked off some real mental issues that I’m sure fame and child stardom didn’t help.

      • Immy says:

        I agree. Even in photo of their sporadic “family vacations” over the years for their daughter’s sake, the photos always show Vlad, holding Kaya, playing with Kaya, etc. Meanwhile Hayden is just there, not interacting with them. Obviously these photos don’t show everything, but I get the real sense that Hayden never bonded with Kaya, and that maybe being a mother has triggered serious mental health issues for her.
        We had children around the same time, my LO is 4 too. I also had PPD, so understand what a monster it can be, but I can’t imagine not living in the same country as my LO.
        My heart does break for little Kaya, no matter how much family love she has from Vlad’s family, her mother is still her mother and is pretty much not around.

  3. ME says:

    Oh this is sad.

  4. AB says:

    This is a cry for help.

  5. Kitten says:

    This young woman needs help.

    • Lady D says:

      Where are her parents, or for that matter where are the boy’s parents?

      • Kebbie says:

        Her parents are just as troubled as she is

      • Arpeggi says:

        Also, she’s 30! It’s kind of ridiculous to call for her parents to do something! Her kid’s with her ex and his family at least and doesn’t have to witness this mess.

      • ItReallyIsYou,NotMe says:

        I am sure you didn’t mean it this way, but I am putting it out there that it perpetuates shame when people put the burden on families to “do something” about domestic violence (and substance abuse for that matter). Maybe they have tried to intervene and she isn’t listening, maybe they have tried so many times that they have given up, or maybe her continued mental health issues and domestic abuse situation has put so much strain on her family that they feel they can’t help without jeopardizing their mental or physical safety. Please let’s be thoughtful before we pile onto a family that might be struggling to decide what to do.

      • Lady D says:

        Honestly thought she was 18-19 years old. Had no idea she was in her 30’s, I really don’t know much about her at all. My comment was based on the above story and the impression I got that she was really young.

  6. Mia4s says:

    Yeah….no, just…no.

    She is not well. And still no pending jobs or prospects. Time off can be good and healing, but it really depends on what you’re doing with that time off. She’s also in a very precarious career spot right now. This PR is not helping at all! This just all feels really wrong.

  7. KAT says:

    Lol I’m sorry but this is insane. There’s something off with the both of them. I hope things work out for the best but this isn’t the first step in that process IMO.

  8. Jess says:

    Oh wow, this poor woman needs help:(

  9. Sayrah says:

    Eh, not good. Imagine marrying the brother of your abusive ex. There are lots of other fish as they say.

  10. Valiantly Varnished says:

    This is gross and hella dysfunctional. On BOTH their parts.

  11. Michael says:

    She should dive deep into work for a while. Stay away from any romantic relationships until she is in a position of strength mentally and financially. That is not bullet proof but it helps when making decisions not to be in a position of weakness. Maybe her ex husband can talk sense into her

  12. BANANIE says:

    Do people really hold hands with people they aren’t dating?

  13. stormsmama says:

    This is a walking talking red flag.
    Just NO! Runnnnnn Hayden! Get yourself into rehab (even if you aren’t drinking you def need to unlearn some bad habits and dangerous patterns and so we are clear: dating your abusive ex’s brother is toxic. Just not healthy).

  14. AnnaKist says:

    This is not good. Not good at all. This brother might be nothing like boyo Brian, but this is not where she should be. Poor girl needs help.

  15. grumpyterrier says:

    I read on another site that the brother is a pastor who started his own church, for whatever that’s worth.

  16. TQB says:

    I agree that this is scary and unhealthy, but the “you’re not supposed to date an ex’s friends just in principle” is a bunch of BS, sexist, woman-controlling garbage. Nobody gets to “claim” someone or make them “off limits” after they break up.

    • Kebbie says:

      It could have been framed as “you’re not supposed to date your brother’s ex” but the guys aren’t the celebrities, she is. Still, it’s not a gendered principle. Most people would agree it’s not ideal to date someone that someone close to you used to date.

      It’s not about ownership or claiming, it’s about the feelings of the person close to you. It could be painful and/or awkward for the person close to you.

      • Ash says:

        @TQB it has been an unspoken, “golden” rule also known as girl code to traditionally not date an ex of a friend or someone close to you for many reasons including general respect for the other person that has nothing to do with your comment therefore making it null and void. I am surprised on your view of this as I’ve always shared this sentiment with all the women I know. I agree with @Tebbie

      • TQB says:

        @Ash that’s some patriarchal BS. “Girl code”? Girl, please. We’re also not supposed to give the milk away or he won’t buy the cow, right? Just because women have reinforced something doesn’t mean it isn’t rooted in men attempting to make sure they got the final say about what we do with our bodies.

        @Kebbie, if your feelings of concern for a third party make you reluctant to date someone, that’s fine. The problem I have is with that third party thinking they have the right to demand that of you. That’s not respect, that’s calling some sort of eternal dibs. It’s childish and immature. If you’re no longer with the person, you either want them to be happy, or you should be happy to be rid of them. Grow up and move on.

      • TQB says:

        also, bless your heart, my comment isn’t null, void, or somehow erased because of your pearl clutching.

      • otaku fairy.... says:

        “Just because women have reinforced something doesn’t mean it isn’t rooted in men attempting to make sure they got the final say about what we got to do with our bodies.” This is so true on so many levels for us when it comes to ‘right’ and ‘wrong ‘.

      • Marianne says:

        yes, people are free to date whomever they want, but it doesnt mean its healthly. Especially if the ex is/was abusive. You dont think thats gonna cause problems at family functions?

        And I mean, maybe this relationship is nothing serious and just a little fling….but still not drama free.

    • otaku fairy.... says:

      @TQB: Normally you’d be right and it would be fine. But it’s the brother of an abusive ex, not just the friend of a normal ex. It just doesn’t seem like a good situation to be in.

      • TQB says:

        ITA that brother of abusive ex is a totally terrible situation. I was responding to Celebitchy’s blanket statement – which, distressingly, seems to be shared by others.

  17. Alexis says:

    No straight man would wear skinny jeans like that. I do think she needs to separate herself from this guys family.

    • Kebbie says:

      I got the same vibe. Maybe that’s why they’re holding hands while claiming they’re only friends. She’s obviously not ready to let go of her ex.

    • PleaseAndThankYou says:


      Are you kidding? This is a gross thing to say and a stupid assumption to make. I don’t know where you live, but I’m going to assume it’s not in a large city. Tons of straight men wear skinny jeans in NYC.

  18. Toot says:

    This is just a big no for me. You don’t date an ex’s sibling no matter how much of an asshole they may have been. I also wouldn’t date a friend’s ex.

    This is just wrong.

    • Ash says:

      @pleaseandthankyou 100% agree with you and find the statement to be very generalized, narrow minded, judgemental and ignorant. I see men across the board including very masculine straight men and yes, gay men too. The tightness of one’s jeans doesn’t depict nor interpret a man’s sexual orientation.

  19. Jb says:

    Yea this woman needs help and no I don’t believe this is platonic. She’s craving love anywhere she can find it and she’s looking in the worst places. Sad and this is gonna get bad

  20. Andrea says:

    I was with my ex for 12 years and now I am interested in his friend whom I have known 13 years. He has been friends with my ex for 20 years but I stay in touch with the friend more than my ex does. Why is that a bad idea?

  21. Spicecake38 says:

    I dated my high school ex’s brother after graduating,but the situation was very different.Nice family both nice guys,really.However the tension was still there between my ex and myself.It was a short lived relationship that was more of a friendship to me,but even as an 18 year old I was able to see that in some ways I was dating the brother because it was comfortable because we had known each other for a long time,and I had the sense to part with him as friends because can you imagine how weird it would be to have a serious relationship with the brother of an ex?Sure it could technically work,but IMO clean breaks are best.
    It’s sad that Hayden is turning to this guy,because it seems like she’s still trying to stay connected to the family.She looks bad,and I’m not trying to be mean.She should focus on herself and getting physically and mentally well,and she needs to be able to set a healthy example for her child.Be well Hayden I’m rooting for you!

  22. Liz version 700 says:

    This poor woman needs an intervention and to be placed in a healing environment like rehab. Also the puffy face makes me worried she is self medicating.

  23. Parigo says:

    She’s such a mess. She really needs professional help.

  24. lobstah says:

    Abusive relationships can drive you to do crazy things. (Well, all of them can I suppose, but I’m just speaking from my own experience with an abusive ex.)

  25. Annie says:

    Hayden has multiple issues of her own and the fact that she prefers to bounce from guy to guy instead of being with her little daughter says a lot about who she is as a person. That child was taken to Russia because Hayden can’t be bothered with parenting her own kid. We can’t talk about what not to do when dating out of principle because Hayden has no principles. She’s always been a mess. This right here is nothing but an attempt to sh*t stir and get attention. How sad that someone’s brother is playing along like this. But hey, she’s rich so he’s going to make it worth it.

  26. Bea says:

    Let’s not forget: she abandoned her own child to get back into this wild life. She made decisions, harmful ones, but I’m thankful her child remains in the safety and care of her ex.

  27. Senator Fan says:

    I agree with other posters, this is bad optics. Are they friends or are they dating? Is it a cover up because she’s still seeing the brother? Whatever the truth is she’s a mess. Sad she’s in the news for dating her ex’s brother and not work related. She is talented and seems to be on a downward slope for a long time. And where is her child in all of this? I know she lives with Hayden’s ex in Russia. How sad that it doesn’t appear she has any relationship with her daughter. Wishing her well and that she gets her life together for both her sake and her daughter’s.

  28. HeyThere! says:

    I worry about this human. She needs help. I don’t mean that in the judgment way, but the ‘BIG HUGS-please go see your doctor and therapists’ way.

    • Kosmos says:

      I never realized early on that she was dysfunctional. After seeing Nashville, perhaps the real Hayden somewhat identifies with the dysfunctional character she played? Wow. I thought she was happily married then had a child, but then the strange behavior began, and now onto the next guy. Right, I don’t see her wanting to be a mother much, so sad. She was so good in Nashville, I thought then that she was so lucky to have a voice, to have talent, though not in the big leagues, the series was a success. Then we skip to now when she’s already been through way too many changes for this to be healthy. Girl, straighten up, get help.

  29. Boullion Boy says:

    She’s an odd one. She looks terrible. And there’s no way this is platonic. Poor decision making skills…she needs help.

  30. serena says:

    Baby steps? Hopefully he helped her separating from his abusive brother.. still not a good idea though.

  31. Amber says:

    This is a bad situation. He’s WAY too close to her former abuser. I’m sure brother Zach is not as bad of a guy, but he also has to know what Hayden went through at Brian’s hands. He has to know that his association with her places her at some risk, because how long could *both* of them avoid contact with his brother? It’s irresponsible for him to get involved at this romantic level. She really does need help from qualified professionals. I’m extremely worried for her.
    I also don’t like people judging her choice to send her young daughter away. To me that comes across as a self-aware and responsible thing to do. If she doesn’t want or isn’t able to raise the child herself, or was worried for her daughters safety because of her abuser, removing the child from the situation is a sensible thing to do.