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Hayden Panettiere 'Grateful' To Have 'Escaped' Brian Hickerson Relationship — And Is Now Getting 'Especially Close' To Ex Wladimir Klitschko: Source

hayden paniteire getting close to ex pp
Source: MEGA

Apr. 13 2021, Updated 11:07 a.m. ET

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Hayden Panettiere is in a good place. A friend tells OK! that the Nashville alum, 31, who cut ties with her toxic ex Brian Hickerson last February after a violent dispute that led to his second arrest for domestic abuse, has been leaning on loved ones as she focuses on rebuilding her life — especially her former fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko

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While the actress and the 45-year-old boxing champ, who split in 2018 after 11 years together, have always gotten along when it comes to co-parenting their daughter, Kaya, 6, "they've grown especially close as of late," says the pal. 

And with Kaya living in Klitschko's native Ukraine, Panettiere spent much of the lockdown "either on Zoom or on the phone with them," shares the friend. "Kaya lights up her life, and Wlad would never keep their little girl away from her mom." 

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Panettiere "FaceTimes Kaya every day," says the pal, adding that the actress and Klitschko "love chatting too."

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While 2020 may have been a rough year, "Hayden is happy, healthy and totally grateful to have escaped that hellish nightmare with Brian," adds the pal. "She's come a long way."

Panettiere's rollercoaster romance with Hickerson was marred by a lot of legal trouble since the two were first linked in August 2018. And the Heroes alum's behavior sparked concerns in 2018 after she was seen ditching her shoes and acting erratically outside of an L.A. club. But as of late, "She's taken control of her life and is making good choices," an insider previously told OK!

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"Hayden's cut out friends who she would party with and is focusing on her mental and physical health," continued the insider. "She's in a great place compared to where she was a year ago."

In fact, things seem close to perfect these days. Added the source, "Hayden's doing brilliantly. There's so much joy in her now, and it's been a long time coming."

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