Actress Hayden Panettiere is speaking out about the “heartbreaking” moment she relinquished custody of her young daughter, Kaya, to ex-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko. Their little girl ended up moving with him back to the MMA star’s native Ukraine. Keep reading for details on Hayden’s child custody situation and where it stands today. 

When Was Hayden Panettiere’s Daughter Born?

The actress gave birth to Kaya Evdokia Klitschko on December 10, 2014. It came a little more than a year after her October 2013 engagement to Wladimir. The pair split in 2018.

How Did Wladimir Klitschko Get Custody of His Daughter With Hayden Panettiere?

Hayden suffered from postpartum depression followed by a battle with substance abuse. She revealed how she relinquished full custody of Kaya to her ex during her her September 28 Red Table Talk appearance.

“At first, it was not because it wasn’t a discussion. If [Wladimir] had come to me and said I think because of where you’re at right now and your struggles that you’re having it would be good for her to be over here with me for a while — which if I had probably had enough of a conversation I would’ve said, ‘OK that makes sense, I get it, I’ll come there to visit and stuff like that,'” she began.

“Because of the way that it was done, it was very upsetting. I mean, it was the worst signing those papers, the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever, ever had to do in my life,” Hayden continued, adding that the papers were to give Wladimir “full custody” of Kaya. The little girl then went to live in Ukraine with her dad.

After noting that the biggest misconception about her is that she would “easily throw away her child,” Hayden admitted she did not know that she lost custody until her daughter left the United States.

“I was gonna go work on myself, I was gonna get better, and when I got better, then things would change and she could come to me and I could have my time with her, but that didn’t happen,” the Heroes alum explained.

Hayden said she believes Wladimir “thinks he is doing the right thing” regarding custody and called him a fantastic father, though admitted that she does not fully understand his decision to have full custody.

When asked how Kaya is doing, Hayden said she is very stoic and revealed that her daughter has never been back to California to visit her. She didn’t share where Kaya is currently living, though said she’s not in Ukraine.

Another heartbreaking fact that Hayden shared in the interview is that Kaya goes “around asking other women if she can call them mommy.” The I Love You, Beth Cooper actress said she’s tried to explain to her ex how much their daughter needs her mother, though it has only created more trauma.

She went on to reveal that she has not received any hints that the custody arrangement will change, adding that she hopes to see Kaya more when she is older.

Does Hayden Panettiere Regret Giving Away Custody of Her Daughter?

“It was the hardest thing I could do,” the former Nashville star told People in July. “But the best thing for my daughter was to make sure she was okay, take care of myself and make sure I could be a good mom to her. And sometimes that means letting go.”

Does Hayden Panettiere Currently Have Custody of Her Daughter Kaya?

While Wladimir still has custody of the now seven-year-old, who remains abroad, Hayden has been able to see Kaya and spend time with her. “She has a beautiful life,” the actress told the publication, adding, “I was just with her. She’s just an amazing child. She’s smart and she’s funny and for whatever reason, she still loves me.”

What Has Hayden Panettiere Said About Motherhood?

Even before Hayden became pregnant with Kaya, the Ice Princess actress has been open about wanting to be a mother.

“I feel like I was born to be a mother,” she told Glamour in May 2013. “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.”

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at