"Sometimes people speak about [having kids] like, 'Your life ends -- you're never going to be able to do anything again!
Hayden Panettiere bounds across the lobby of a deeply fashionable New York hotel.
She waves and grins broadly before settling into an armchair and seizing the cocktail menu.
‘After Heroes I knew it was going to be an uphill battle for me to be seen as anything other than the all-American cheerleader,’ she says.
It’s certainly true that with her perky blonde prettiness she perfectly resembles that icon of American high-school culture, straight out of central casting.
Perhaps it was an ill-advised effort to shed her wholesome image that made Panettiere take on the contentious role of Amanda Knox in the television film Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy (2011).
Reports say the "Nashville" star is pregnant with her first child.
According to Us Weekly, Panettiere, 24, is expecting a kid with her fiance Wladimir Klitschko.
The couple began dating in 2009 and briefly split in 2011. In May, she spoke to Us about always wanting to have children.
"I've lived a very big life, and I don't feel my age, and I feel like I was born to be a mother," she said.
At just 23 years old, the actress could justifiably be claiming her carriage clock by now.
Panettiere was a millionaire before she was out of her teens, thanks in part to her award-winning role as Claire Bennet, a cheerleader with healing powers in the sci-fi series Heroes.
But Panettiere appears to have pulled off the notoriously tricky transition from child and teenage stardom to serious adult acting with aplomb.
Earlier this year she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as the catty, conniving country-music singer Juliette Barnes in the new More4 drama Nashville. With her bad-girl persona, sequinned dresses and eye-wateringly tight denim hotpants, Barnes is a delicious departure from the good girls the actress is used to playing.