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Hayden Panettiere has been dating Brian Hickerson, an aspiring actor, since last summer

By
May 17, 2019 03:33 PM

Hayden Panettiere‘s romance with Brian Hickerson is a source of concern amongst her friends and family, sources tell PEOPLE.

The Nashville star, 29, was first linked to the aspiring actor last August, shortly after reports circulated that Panettiere and ex-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko (the father of her 4-year-old daughter Kaya) had split.

Over the course of their relationship, the couple has made headlines. Last November, they were reportedly involved in a drunken altercation with Hickerson’s dad; earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE that Hickerson had been arrested on a domestic violence charge.

According to TMZ, Hickerson got into an alleged physical altercation with Panettiere. He was released later that day after posting a $50,000 bond, the outlet reported. (Neither responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment on the arrest. PEOPLE is out to the district attorney about a possible plea.)

“Hayden knows Brian has a bad temper and can be controlling, but there is an extreme attraction to it,” a show business source tells PEOPLE. “And despite warnings from family and friends, the relationship seems solid.”

“Brian’s reputation as a party boy is no secret in Hollywood,” the source continues. “Those close to Hayden are more worried than ever about this and his temper. But Hayden is taken with him. She thinks he is what she needs in her life now.”

A rep for Panettiere was unable to be reached. Hickerson did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but he has defended their romance in the past.

“Just to be clear, Hayden’s friends and family are not worried about her at all,” he told Access last fall. “Hayden is happy and healthy and so is our relationship. That is all I will comment on so please respect my privacy. Have a great day.”

RELATED: Hayden Panettiere Takes Boyfriend Brian Hickerson to Visit Her Family in Florida

Panettiere and Hickerson are currently based in Los Angeles, while the actress’s daughter Kaya is apparently living in Klitschko’s native Ukraine for now.

“It has been tough on Hayden, but she has to continue making changes in her life, as well as focus on better decisions about what she wants to do personally and professionally going forward,” the show business source says. “Their daughter seems better with her dad and his family now. But Hayden has not abandoned Kaya. She loves her very much.”

RELATED VIDEO: Nashville Stars Lennon & Maisy Stella Call Hayden Panettiere’s Daughter the ‘Cutest’

A second source tells PEOPLE that Hickerson “has been a bad influence from the beginning.”

“Hayden’s friends and family are not happy with the relationship,” the source says. “She’s been acting more out of control since she’s been with him.”

However, the star had her issues long before Hickerson came into the picture; she struggled with postpartum depression after welcoming Kaya, seeking treatment in rehab in 2015.

The couple was most recently spotted out and about on Thursday in L.A.

Hayden Panettiere and Brian Hickerson in Los Angeles on May 16
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In February, a source told PEOPLE that while Panettiere and Hickerson’s romance may have started as a fling, they had gotten more serious.

“Hayden really likes Brian, has a great time with him, and the romance has gone past a dalliance,” said the source. “She was first attracted to him because he was hot and different, and now she is pretty interested in him.”

“She is young, and Brian seems to be a take-charge person in a different way than Wlad was, which she needs,” the source added.

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