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Hayden Panettiere and Ex-Boyfriend's Brother Are Just 'Friends' Despite Holding Hands: Source



In the wake of Hayden Panettiere's allegedly abusive relationship with Brian Hickerson, the actress was spotted holding hands with his brother, Zach, on a roll in New York City.

In photos obtained by In Touch Weekly the Nashville alumna, 30, smiled as she gripped hands with Zach on Sept. 4.

“Hayden and Zach are friends and have been for a while,” a source tells PEOPLE. The source also confirms that Panettiere and Hickerson broke up and have not communicated since the judge issued a protective order against him in May.

Video: Hayden Panettiere's Red Carpet Style

A rep for Panettiere did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment

Panettiere and Hickerson began dating after reports circulated that she and then-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko had split in August 201

8. Klitschko, 43, and Panettiere share daughter, Kaya, 4, who lives in Ukraine with her father. [19659002] While the relationship between Panettiere and Hickerson began as a fling, it was quickly questioned by those close to the Heroes alumna, especially after the couple was reportedly involved in a drunken alteration with Hickerson's father, prompting a visit from shelves. And in May, Hickerson was arrested on a domestic violence charge and released on bail.

 Brian Hickerson and Hayden Panettiere | Eric Charbonneau / REX / Shutterstock
Brian Hickerson and Hayden Panettiere | Eric Charbonneau / REX / Shutterstock

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According to the felony complaint received by PEOPLE, prosecutors allege Hickerson "willfully inflicted corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon Hayden P."

Hickerson was charged with one count of felony domestic violence on May 23 and pleaded not guilty to the charge, a spokesperson for LA County District Attorney's Office confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.

RELATED VIDEO: Hayden Panettiere Takes Us Inside Her Daughter's Amazing Closet

In July, according to RadarOnline, Hickerson appeared in court as a Los Angeles Superior Judge Listed to Testimony from Police Officer Who Responded to Domestic Violence Call on May 2. During the hearing, the judge denied motion to dismiss criminal charges against Hickerson and declined to consider a lesser misdemeanor charge.

Panettiere's family exclusively told PEOPLE, “We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision. It is an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women. ”

If convicted, Hickerson faces up to four years in prison.

If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.


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