Connie Britton, who plays country queen (and Panettiere’s character Juliette’s onetime mentor) Rayna, and Jonathan Jackson, who appears as her estranged husband Avery, both spoke about the actress’s progress at Wednesday night’s CMT Artists of the Year awards.
“We have connected, and I think she’s doing really well,” said Britton, 48, told the Associated Press. “She’s right where she needs to be, and that’s really good, and we all support her in that.”
“We’ve been in communication, and she seems to be doing well, and we’re really excited to get back to work when the time comes,” Jackson, 33, told PEOPLE on the red carpet. “My wife and I were really grateful that she took the time that she needed. I think that’s a really great example for people.”
Pannettiere, 26, looked happy and healthy Saturday as she cheered on her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko during a boxing championship in Germany. (Klitschko, 39, lost the match.)
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding,” the mom, whose character also has PPD, said on Live with Kelly and Michael. “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. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
A source close to the show previously told PEOPLE that Juliette’s heartbreaking storyline was planned long before Panettiere shared her own struggle – and production has worked around her treatment schedule for season 4.
Nashville airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.