Hitting refresh: After a tumultuous few years, Hayden Panettiere's 2021 is looking bright. According to an OK! insider, the actress has been working on herself since her June split from toxic ex-boyfriend Brian Hickerson.
"She's taken control of her life and is making good choices," the insider says of the Heroes alum, 31, whose behavior sparked concerns in 2018 after she was seen ditching her shoes and acting erratically outside of an L.A. club.
"Hayden's cut out friends who she would party with and is focusing on her mental and physical health," continues the insider. "She's in a great place compared to where she was a year ago."
With Hickerson and bad influences out of the picture, Panettiere's been able to rebuild her life — and her relationship with her 6-year-old daughter, Kaya, who lives in Ukraine with her dad, the star's ex-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko.
The efforts to rebuild her life are evident. While Panettiere couldn't make it to Ukraine due to travel restrictions, the insider said that the whole family celebrated Kaya's birthday on December 9 virtually.
In fact, the blonde beauty shared a snap of her little girl's dessert-adorned cake, captioning the photo, "6 years ago today, I met the most amazing (not so little anymore) creature. Can’t believe my baby girl is getting so big!"
Panettiere's rollercoaster romance with Hickerson was marred by a lot of legal trouble since the two were first linked in August 2018. What was said to be a blooming romance met a toxic end after a domestic violence incident in February earlier this year. The couple split after the incident and Hickerson was charged with eight counts of domestic assault and violence.
Now that she's turned a corner, Panettiere is only looking forward, and next on her agenda is reviving her once-hot career. "She's weighing her options, and it sounds like something big is on the horizon," dishes the insider. "Hayden's doing brilliantly. There's so much joy in her now, and it's been a long time coming."