Hayden Panettiere was reportedly back on the set of Nashville on Friday after taking a medical leave following the birth of her daughter, Kaya.
The actress — who plays a country star who is also dealing with postpartum depression — hasn’t been on the show since November, and her fans and co-stars have been worried about her well-being since she announced she was taking leave. However, Jonathan Jackson, who plays Hayden’s love interest on the show, says he thinks it’s not only the right choice for Panettiere, it’s also a good example for other actresses who may need to take time off following a birth but are either afraid they might lose their jobs or are worried about the stigma associated with postpartum depression.
“I think she seems to be doing really well, and obviously all of us are very excited for her to come back when it’s time. But I’m also really grateful that she’s taking the time that she needs, and I think that that’s really a wonderful example for people,” Jackson told E! News.
Executive producer Dee Johnson said last year that they would make adjustments for Hayden’s leave, and assured fans that she wouldn’t be gone for an entire season.
“It’s not the entire season, it’s just for now. We’ve had to make adjustments, but it’s not uncommon for shows to have to make such accommodations when real life intervenes,” Johnson said.
Hayden Panettiere made an appearance on Live With Kelly And Michael in September, where she described the emotions that come with depression. Hayden said she hadn’t realized how many levels there are to what she was feeling, and that every mother handles it differently.
“It’s something a lot of women experience. When you’re told about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child.’ I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal,” Hayden said. “There’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true. That it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that, ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off,” she said. “It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
Hayden has been active on social media lately, sharing photos on Twitter of herself over the holidays and at the salon, saying her stylists talked her out of a major hue change.
Chopping hair off is like getting rid of metaphorical and literal dead ends. Off with the old and growing the new???? pic.twitter.com/xELYiOGmu2
— hayden panettiere (@haydenpanettier) December 4, 2015
— hayden panettiere (@haydenpanettier) December 10, 2015
Happy belated New Year everyone!!!! pic.twitter.com/62neakadty
— hayden panettiere (@haydenpanettier) January 2, 2016
Hayden is also set to perform on the hit show Lip Sync Battle in February, where she’ll go up against Eva Longoria. The popular show — which pits celebrities against one another on stage in an epic battle of lyrics — has made headlines in the past for the outrageous costumes and props stars have used to one-up each other, such as when Anne Hathaway straddled a wrecking ball to cover Miley Cyrus, and when Channing Tatum dressed as Beyoncé recently and then got a little help from the superstar herself.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Christina Aguilera — who recently gave birth to her own daughter and has been on maternity leave from The Voice— will make an appearance on Hayden’s episode to perform “Lady Marmalade”.
Hayden Panettiere will reportedly begin appearing in new episodes of Nashville in April.
[Photo by Sebastian Konopka/Associated Press]