Culture Hayden Panettiere interview: She grew up and got nasty on screen at least. She talks to Jane Mulkerrins. She waves and grins broadly before settling into an armchair and seizing the cocktail menu. At just 23 years old, the actress could justifiably be claiming her carriage clock by now.
Panettiere was a millionaire before she was out of her teens, thanks in part to her award-winning role as Claire Bennet, a cheerleader with healing powers in the sci-fi series Heroes. She spent most of her formative years on sets instead of at school, appeared in adverts by the time she could walk and talk, and landed her first full-time role in a television soap opera aged four. Just 5ft 1in, and sporting skinny jeans, an orange sweater and brown fur-lined boots, she is so fresh-faced she looks barely old enough to be quaffing cocktails.
Related Articles Nashville, series 2, episode 1 06 Feb But Panettiere appears to have pulled off the notoriously tricky transition from child and teenage stardom to serious adult acting with aplomb. Earlier this year she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as the catty, conniving country-music singer Juliette Barnes in the new More4 drama Nashville. With her bad-girl persona, sequinned dresses and eye-wateringly tight denim hotpants, Barnes is a delicious departure from the good girls the actress is used to playing.
Perhaps it was an ill-advised effort to shed her wholesome image that made Panettiere take on the contentious role of Amanda Knox in the television film Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy At the time, Knox was serving a year sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher, though she has since been acquitted.
The scenes are absolutely horrific. The show pitches the ruthlessly ambitious Juliette against a fortysomething country music superstar whose success is on the wane.
The series is filmed on location in the Tennessee city, where Panettiere has very willingly relocated from Los Angeles. Panettiere sings regularly on screen and several tracks have been digitally released.
She actually recorded a pop album as a teenager, but abandoned the project before release. Her father, Alan known as Skip , was a policeman, then a firefighter, before he retired to set up a wooden-flooring business. She acted throughout her childhood, with guest spots in Ally McBeal and Malcolm in the Middle and films such as Remember the Titans, but her career went stratospheric when she landed the lead role in Heroes aged She had nights when she ran a little wild, she admits.
But she was acutely aware of how easily her golden-girl reputation could be tarnished. In spite of staying out of trouble, she could not avoid the cruelty of certain segments of the media. She thinks it forced her to grow up fast. How old does she feel, I ask? Little wonder, then, that her relationship history features some significantly older beaus. She dated her Heroes co-star Milo Ventimiglia who is 12 years her senior for two years, and the Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko 13 years her senior for two years after that.
I want to be with somebody who is more worldly than me, somebody who can give me guidance and is completely secure and comfortable with who they are. He is not only older, but a foot and a half taller than she is, too. I was born to be a mum.