Last night, at the Critics’ Choice Awards, actress Hayden Panettiere made her first U.S. red carpet appearance since receiving treatment for postpartum depression in October.
The 26-year-old Nashville star opened up about her experiences with PPD during the festivities. She told People, “It feels different for me because of things that I’ve gone through recently, over the last year. I’ve really gone, ‘You know what, I’ve been in this industry for so long, forget it!’ I’ve been hiding myself. Just putting out the smiling face, showing people this, and allowing that veil to come down — it’s like a weight off my shoulders.”
Hayden emphasized how events like last night’s are much more enjoyable now that she’s been more candid with the public. “I’m 26 years old,” she said. “I’m a mom. I don’t need to be afraid of what people are going to think. I saw how much people rallied behind me when I was honest, and I didn’t know that honesty could be such a gift.”
Panettiere added that her daughter, Kaya Evdokia, was a motivating factor for her to open up a public dialogue about PPD. “The only important thing to me is that I’m not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to. It would be horrible for me to be going, ‘You can be whomever you want! You can do whatever you want in life!’ yet I was unable to follow the same words,” she said.