(LOS ANGELES) — Brian Hickerson, the ex boyfriend of former Nashville star Hayden Panettiere, has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of domestic violence against the actress.
Hickerson, who was with Panettiere for a year and a half, was arrested last week on charges ranging from felony assault to domestic violence and witness intimidation, according to court paperwork obtained by ABC News.
He pleaded in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday, where he was given a court date of July 30 to address the case further.
The source added that in the past, Panettiere reported to police multiple instances of “extreme domestic violence” by Hickerson during their year-and-a-half relationship.
“I am coming forward with the truth about what happened to me with the hope that my story will empower others in abusive relationships to get the help they need and deserve,” Panettiere told Good Morning America in a statement after last week’s arrest. “I am prepared to do my part to make sure this man never hurts anyone again.”
She added, “I’m grateful for my support system, which helped me find the courage to regain my voice and my life.”
The actress’ attorney, Alan Jackson, added that Panettiere was “for years … the victim of psychological, emotional and severe physical abuse.”
“Hayden has found the strength and courage to share the truth about her abuse and her abuser,” Jackson said in a statement. “As a survivor, she recognizes that her arduous journey of healing has just begun.”
A source close to the actress told GMA that Panettiere has been in treatment for alcohol abuse issues and this is a part of that recovery process.
This isn’t Hickerson’s first run-in with the law regarding his former girlfriend. In May 2019, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge and released on bail.
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