Hayden Panettiere‘s recent outing with Zach Hickerson is raising eyebrows.
The Nashville alum was spotted holding hands with ex-boyfriend Brian Hickerson‘s brother, sparking relationship speculation. Pictures have emerged of the smiling duo taking a stroll around NYC’s SoHo neighborhood on Sept. 4, with a source telling E! News, “They looked very comfortable. Like a real couple.”
These photos have surfaced four months after Hayden’s ex and Zach’s brother, Brian, was arrested after allegedly getting into a confrontation with the 30-year-old actress. Following the domestic violence arrest in May, Brian was ordered by a judge to stay away from Hayden. E! News later learned that Hayden was attempting to put some distance between herself and Brian.
So, now that these pictures have emerged, does this mean Hayden is moving on with her ex’s brother?
“Hayden and Zach are not dating, but she has been relying on him for additional support to get through this time as he is the closest thing to Brian,” a source tells E! News. “Zach and Brian are very similar – they look alike and act alike, but Zach isn’t nearly as explosive as Brian.”
The insider notes that Hayden and Zach met when she started dating Brian.
“Hayden got to know Brian’s family immediately after they began their relationship, spending time with them in South Carolina,” the source shares. “Hayden moved to New York with the hopes that it would make the forced separation easier on her and the opportunity to start fresh.”
“Hayden and Brian would likely still be together if not for the court order. It can be very challenging for them both, but Hayden is making sure they keep their distance,” the insider adds. “She doesn’t want to do anything to get herself or Brian in any additional legal trouble.”
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