AceShowbiz - Hayden Panettiere seems to be moving on from his allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend Brian Hickerson. Just three months after Brian was arrested for domestic violence, the "Nashville" alum was spotted holding hands with a new man in New York City. The man surprisingly was Brian's brother Zach.
During the casual outing, Hayden sported print tee and a denim jacket which she paired with denim pants and white shoes. Meanwhile, Zach opted for a plain black tee and gray pants. According to a source, they walked arm-in-arm on September 4 in the SoHo neighborhood. It was said that the pair "continued holding hands, laughing and smiling."
"They looked very comfortable. Like a real couple," the insider went on saying. "They looked playful, happy and also very close and affectionate."
However, another source revealed to In Touch Weekly that "Hayden and Zach are just friends," adding, "They have been friends for as long as she's been dating Brian; Zach and Brian are close." Zach reportedly was in town for a job interview and he linked up with Hayden who was already in town. They were just goofing off and holding hands as friends. At one point, she was jumping up and down making funny faces, and he was flexing his muscles and laughing. They looked happy together."
This arrives almost four months after Brian allegedly got into a violent altercation with the 30-year-old actress which ended up in him getting arrested for domestic violence. According to a prosecutor, Hayden sustained some injuries from the fight and had bruises on her arms, ear, and neck area. The prosecutor also claimed that Brian "hit her on the face, causing her to get dizzy," adding that they might have other unreported instances of domestic violence during the time they were dating.
A Los Angeles County judge issued a protective order against Brian, ordering him not to coming within 100 yards of Hayden. Brian pleaded not guilty to the felony domestic violence charge at the arraignment with him being scheduled to return to court on September 24 for a jury trial.