Hayden Panettiere or Juliette Barnes? 'Nashville' star slowly becoming her character in real life

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It's official: Hayden Panettiere has become her "Nashville" character in real life -- minus the bad publicity and drug-addicted mom, of course.

Panettiere -- who plays country star Juliette Barnes on the ABC southern soap -- moved to Tennessee back in 2012 when she was cast on "Nashville" and now she's decided to buy a home there with her fiancé, heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko.

"I like being in a place where people appreciate the little things and don't need a lot of stuff to be happy," Panettiere tells Southern Living of her decision to buy a home. "You can put a group of Southerners in any scenario and they'll have a good time. At my core, this is the kind of person I am and want to be."

The native New Yorker's transformation has been slow but noticeable, like when Panettiere stayed in her "Nashville" character for her Cotton commercial, cowboy boots, guitars and all. "It's a lot more laid-back [in Nashville] which suits me better," Panettiere says. "In L.A. and New York, you go out to lunch and everyone is wearing high heels. In Nashville if I see someone wearing heels, I get the sense they might not be from around here."

Panettiere says that she's found a new home in the south, regardless of whether or not "something happens to the show." 

"The people here are amazing," Panettiere says. "Living in Nashville gives me a sense of normalcy that I wasn't sure I was ever going to get back in my life. When I first got here, all my defenses were still up, and I was waiting for that world to suddenly creep back in. When it didn't, I realized that I can live a normal life here with people who don't judge you based on what you do or who you are in the public eye."

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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