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Exclusive: Hayden Panettiere was 'horrified' to hear 7-year-old asked to call other women 'mommy'

On "Red Table Talk," Panettiere opened up about her decision to relinquish custody of her daughter in 2018 amid struggles with alcohol addiction. Now, Kaya lives in Ukraine with her father.
Red Table Talk via Facebook
/ Source: TODAY

Hayden Panettiere has shared what she called a "horrifying" story about her only daughter allegedly asking other women if she could call them "Mommy," which she revealed in a discussion about her custody situation with ex Wladimir Klitschko.

The "Nashville" star spoke to hosts Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris as well as guest host Kelly Osbourne for the latest episode of "Red Table Talk" on Facebook Watch, which begins streaming on Sept. 28 at 12 p.m. ET.

In a clip from the show shared exclusively with TODAY, Panettiere, 33, describes an alleged phone call with Klitschko, 46, the former boxing champion who is now fighting for Ukraine in the war against Russia. The two share a daughter, Kaya, 7, who went to live with Klitschko in Ukraine in 2018 after Panettiere signed custody papers amid struggles with alcohol addiction.

"I also remember her dad calling me and he said, 'Kaya is going around and asking other women if she can call them Mommy,' and my breath hitched and my heart stopped, and he was laughing," Panettiere said on RTT. "He thought this was funny, and it was horrifying to me.

"He didn't get it as to me who saw, that's a trauma reaction. That's a cry for help. I said immediately, 'Can I talk to my daughter?' And when I asked her about it she went into 'goo goo gaga' speak. Like, just talking gibberish. I never before ever heard her do that. It was a trauma that she was experiencing, me not being around."

In a different preview clip of the show shared with People, Panettiere spoke about the decision for Kaya to go live in Ukraine after she split from Klitschko in 2018 while struggling with alcohol and opioid addiction.

"It was the hardest thing I could do," she said. "But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was OK, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her. And sometimes that means letting go."

She said she signed papers giving Klitschko full custody.

"It was the worst signing those papers, the most heartbreaking thing I've ever, ever had to do in my life," she said.

In the clip shared with TODAY, Panettiere expressed her fear over what could happen to her daughter due to Panettiere having little connection with her.

"As much as I have tried to explain how much she needs her mom and how it's going to rear its ugly head later when she is older and it could turn into anger, depression, whatever it is, but it's going to be a trauma," she said. "You can explain it to somebody who doesn't understand that consequence or doesn't believe it, until you're blue in the face."

In addition to her truth about giving up custody of her only child, Panettiere also opens up on the show about years of alcohol abuse and experiencing severe postpartum depression.