Hayden Panettiere’s Boyfriend Pleads Not Guilty to Domestic Violence Charge
Brian Hickerson, the boyfriend of singer and actress Hayden Panettiere, has pleaded not guilty to a domestic violence charge stemming from an early May incident involving the former Nashville star. However, a judge has ordered Hickerson to stay away from his girlfriend, issuing a protective order related to the matter.
According to E! News, Hickerson pleaded not guilty to felony domestic violence during his Thursday (May 23) arraignment. He's been forbidden by a Los Angeles judge from owning firearms, and the judge also issued a protective order that commands Hickerson to stay at least 100 yards away from Panettiere.
A hearing in the case is set for June 26. According to Page Six, if Hickerson is convicted, he faces up to four years in jail.
Hickerson, 30, was arrested and charged with domestic violence in the early morning hours of May 2, after the couple returned home from a night out drinking in Hollywood and an argument turned physical. The responding police officers discovered redness and other marks on Panettiere's body and took Hickerson into custody after interviewing them both.
Hickerson was later released on $50,000 bond. Panettiere has not commented on Hickerson's arrest or arraignment; however, they were spotted together after the incident in early May.
Panettiere, who played Juliette Barnes on the TV drama Nashville, was previously engaged to boxer Wladimir Klitschko. The couple met in 2009 and dated for a while before splitting up in 2011; however, they resumed their relationship in 2013 and got engaged a few months later.
Before breaking off their engagement in 2018, Panettiere and Klitschko welcomed a daughter named Kaya in December of 2014. He is reportedly the young girl in his home country of Ukraine, with help from his mother, while Panettiere rarely sees them.
In the past year, Panettiere has been the subject of a number of tabloid reports, which speculate that her mental, and perhaps physical, health are at risk, and that her relationship with Hickerson is a dysfunctional one. A source tells Us Weekly that the pair are "not [in] a healthy situation," though Hickerson made a statement to Access, saying, “Just to be clear, Hayden’s friends and family are not worried about her at all."
In October of 2018, South Carolina police responded to a report of assault and battery after Hickerson -- who is an aspiring actor -- and his father got into a fight. One officer found Hickerson chasing his dad "in an agitated state," while Panettiere was described as "intoxicated" and "frantic." Hickerson's father had blood on his face, though he told the officers that he had fallen.
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