Hayden Panettiere’s 7-year-old daughter, Kaya, “still loves” her mom despite being sent to live with her dad, Wladimir Klitschko, in 2018.
“It was the hardest thing I could do,” the actress, 32, told People of sending her little one to Ukraine in an interview published Wednesday.
“But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was OK, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her,” Panettiere, who is newly sober following an alcohol and opioid addiction, explained. “And sometimes that means letting go.”
The “Nashville” alum gushed that Kaya is “smarter” than her, noting that her daughter is also “taller.”
“She has a beautiful life,” Panettiere told the magazine. “I was just with her. She’s just an amazing child. She she’s smart, and she’s funny, and for whatever reason, she still loves me.
“She’s a happy kid open to a huge world,” she continued. “And she she has more love than anybody I’ve ever met.”
Kaya is, however, having a “really, really hard time” amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “Heroes” alum shared.
Although Panettiere confirmed in February that her daughter was out of the war-torn country, she told People that Klitschko, 46, has been “on the ground fighting.”
“Every time I hear his voice or get a text from him, it’s such a relief,” the “Scream” star added before reflecting on a recent “heartbreaking” conversation with Kaya about the tragedy.
“The only question she had was, ‘Why is Putin doing this?’” Panettiere recalled.
Kaya was born in December 2014, four years before her parents called it quits on their engagement. Panettiere admitted in the interview that her “cycle of self-destruction” in the throes of her addiction caused her relationship with the former professional boxer to be on-again, off-again.
“He didn’t want to be around me,” she said. “He I did n’t want to be around me. But with the opiates and alcohol, I was doing anything to make me feel happy for a moment. Then I’d feel worse than I did before.”
Now Panettiere is “grateful to be part of this world again,” saying, “I will never take it for granted.”