ALSO: Check out our "Heroes" blog from the archives.
Is there a better (or more unlikely) way to celebrate one’s 18th birthday than to be named GQ’s Obsession of the Year? Given the life and times of Hayden Panettiere, the honor is a mere feather in her tiara. For she was destined for the spotlight and attention of a celebrity since birth having been in front of the camera since she was 11 months old, working over 50 commercials. By four she was following in her mother’s footsteps – a former soap actress – by landing a gig on "One Life to Live," the venerable ABC soap opera. At eight, she was a regular on CBS’ "Guiding Light" as a character battling leukemia. It would not be the last time Hayden’s characters would be grappling with large issues. Meanwhile, she was involved in a host of other projects both on film and television, a career so prolific that by the time she became the superhero cheerleader saving the world on "Heroes" at the age of 17, her output rivaled that of a Philip Seymour Hoffman or Samuel L. Jackson. The only difference is that she’s a 5’1" stunning blonde.
Hayden was born and raised in Palisades, New York in 1989 attending public school until 7th grade when she became home schooled. During her entire education she was always working in entertainment. Along with the regular TV soap gigs, she voiced Dot in "A Bug’s Life" (which earned her a Grammy for her singing performance), played opposite Denzel Washington in "Remember the Titans," voiced Kairi in the video game "Kingdom Hearts" (and its sequel), was one of the children Kate Hudson raises in "Raising Helen," learned how to ride zebras in "Racing Stripes," and landed the co-lead in "Heroes," which has been responsible for catapulting Hayden into the top heights of fame she had been building towards all her life.
For her avid fans, she has grown up before their very eyes; for others, she may have gained recognition not only due to "Heroes," but to what she has done with her fame. Consider: in the fall of 2007, Hayden created a splash along with five other surfers in battling Japanese fishermen who were on their annual dolphin hunt by paddling out to sea attempting to intercept a fishing boat and save hundreds of dolphins from death. Narrowly avoiding fishing hooks and other perils, images of a tearful Hayden sparked both controversy and interest. Despite her failed efforts – and gaining an arrest warrant from Japanese police – Hayden now has plenty of new fans thanks to the exposure. And though she has been an entertainment fixture her whole life, Hayden is only beginning what will be a lifetime in the spotlight as an American celebrity.
Hayden Panettiere in GQ
Hayden Panettiere in "Heroes"
Hayden on the Web
Hayden Panettiere at Maxim
Hayden made a name for herself as a young cheerleader, and now that she's all grown up, we don't have to feel weird about looking at her as such. Maxim's got some great pics from her early years on 'Heroes'.
Tremendous Hayden database with plenty of photos of the young star.
TV Guide: Hayden Panettiere
Photos, bio and news of Hayden.
Hayden’s MySpace Page
Official MySpace site for Hayden.
Solid biography covering the many aspects of Hayden’s life.
"Your largest resource for everything Hayden Panettiere."
"Serving fans since 2003."
Latest updates tracing every Hayden appearance.
Hayden on the various interests in her life.
Hayden on the Screen
Hayden started on commercials, graduated to soaps by age 4, and was the voice of Dot in "A Bug’s Life" by eight. She’s the Girl on Sinking Boat in the Costner / Newman picture "Message in a Bottle," Sheryl Yoast in "Remember the Titans," Natalie in the Tim Allen vehicle "Joe Somebody," Maddie on 11 episodes of "Ally McBeal," zebra-riding Channing in "Racing Stripes," Jessica for four episodes of "Malcolm in the Middle," and Claire Bennet on NBC’s "Heroes."
Hayden is keeping busy as usual in addition to her attempts at saving dolphins and living the single life following her split from hunk Stephen Colletti. On the big screen, audiencessaw her in "Fireflies in the Garden," a family drama starring, in addition to Hayden, Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Ioan Gruffudd.
On Britney Spears:
"We made her what every young girl wanted to be, and then we tore her apart. We made her the way she is, it’s our fault, it’s not her fault, and hopefully she’ll find a way. People should leave her alone; no one knows the whole story."
On how she views herself:
"You go on these Internet blogs and people say the meanest things. I'm a normal person. Just because I'm in the spotlight doesn't mean I'm God's gift to the world."
On her enemies:
"I learned today that I have an arrest warrant out for me in Japan because of what I did for Save the Whales."