After four years away from the Hollywood spotlight , actress Hayden Panettiere is opening up for the first time about the challenges she's faced that nearly destroyed her career.
In a People and Good Morning America exclusive interview, the 32-year-old said that she'd been "struggling for a long time."
"I didn't know where the alcoholism was ending and the postpartum was beginning. And I ran myself pretty ragged," she said.
Since her hit show Nashville ended in 2018, Panettiere said the years that followed have "been difficult."
"I just needed a break," she said.
Shortly after the birth of her daughter in 2014, Panettiere was overcome with postpartum depression. She told ABC News' Kaylee Hartung she turned to "the bottom of a bottle" for support.
"I didn't have any negative feelings towards my child," she said. "I just knew I was deeply depressed," like she "was in...this haze that just wasn't me."
"People around me were more concerned about my usage of alcohol than they ever were about the postpartum depression," the actress admitted.
They thought she was "being a crazy woman" or "an overly emotional female," but Panetierre said, "it was so out of my control."
"I felt like I was walking blind," Hayden expressed. "And I don't like to ask for help either. I wanna be that strong, stoic woman. But, I mean, when you see a happy-go-lucky girl for years suddenly on the floor in a puddle of mess and alcohol, you gotta know something is wrong."
Eventually, Panettiere sought out the treatment she needed, which included making friends who could understand her struggles.
Panettiere says she is now sober and is taking things one day at a time.
"It's an everyday battle," she said, adding, I'm grateful to say that I'm sober today."