‘Nashville’ actress Hayden Panettiere talks motherhood, music and marriage in the May issue of Glamour magazine.
On coming up in the business with a lot of other young stars: “I came up in the Messy Generation. The generation of the disaster child.”
On staying grounded despite that, “It’s not that I didn’t go to clubs, have my picture taken. I was 16 years old. I was experimenting just like any kid. But I had friends and family around me to yank me back when I was heading in the wrong direction. Every turn that I made, somebody was waiting for me to fall on my face and catch it on film. The thing that really saved me was that I still had that healthy fear of my parents—I still had a midnight curfew at 18!”
On how she feels about young girls looking up to her: “I never put my name in the ballot box and said, ‘Hey, I want you to vote me as your teen leader and icon and your Miss Perfect.’ I will never say that I’m perfect; I will never pretend to be perfect. That’s just unrealistic. You’re kind of unexpectedly put in this position of becoming a role model; that’s not something you choose.”
Does starring on Nashville and singing give her a second chance at a music career: “I don’t look at it as a second chance; I look at it as where I’m supposed to be. Even if I’m not perfect at it, even if my voice takes work, this is where my heart is. People used to ask me, ‘What kind of music do you like?’ I’d say, ‘Country.’ Then they’d go, ‘But you’re from New York.’ I thought people would think I was trying to be something I’m not. But the industry of country music is unbelievably accepting. The fans are unreal. There’s no judgment; it’s just, Let’s all get together in a massive backyard and have a barbecue and drink and have fun.”
On how she, a girl from New York transplanted to Nashville, met her boyfriend, Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko: [Laughs.] “Life is like a lunchroom at school. In this industry you’ve got little individual tables of actors, singers, rap stars, this, that, the other. But it’s a big industry that also encompasses anyone in the public eye. An acquaintance of ours did a coffee-table book, and the proceeds went to genocide prevention. We met at the party for the launch of the book; we’ve been friends for five years—we’ve never not been close.”
How her parents have affected her relationships: “They split up when I was 18. There was this whole thing, and my dad went to jail. [In 2008 her father was arrested for allegedly striking her mother in the face.] When it happened, I knew my denying it or saying it was false wasn’t going to do anything. People would just say, ‘Oh, she’s in denial.’ My parents are really good people—they just are not meant to be together.”
On marrying young and having kids: “I don’t really have a plan. I’ve lived a very big life, and I don’t feel my age, and I feel like I was born to be a mother. Sometimes people speak about [having kids] like, ‘Your life ends—you’re never going to be able to do anything again!’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Motherhood is the most beautiful, exciting thing, and there’s nothing that I feel like I can’t accomplish while having children in my life. I would sacrifice having more years of being wherever I want whenever I want for years with my kids.”
On the meaning of her tattoo: “It’s Italian: Vivere senza rimpianti. When I was younger, I was upset, and my dad said he wanted to show me something. He slammed one door of the bathroom, and the closet door popped open—it was a trick with the air. He said, ‘Whenever one door closes, another one always opens.’ So my tattoo means ‘Live without regrets.’ It’s not that you don’t regret things in life, but you at least try to learn from them. It’s misspelled too [accidentally, as rimipianti]—so I literally have to live by that advice!”
Check out her full photo gallery at Glamour.
Photos by Peggy Sirota