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article imageHeroes star Hayden Panettiere Cheers On Jackson's Musical Legacy Special

By Earl Dittman     Jul 3, 2009 in Entertainment
No stranger to tabloid/internet gossip and rumors, Hayden Panettiere hopes fans recall Michael Jackson’s greatness and forget the allegations that plagued his final years. The 19-year-old goes on to deny rumors of marriage and doing new Footloose film.
When tabloid cover girl and paparazzi favorite Hayden Panettiere, the gorgeous, 19-year-old star of the hit television series Heroes and the upcoming big screen comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper, was asked about her feelings towards the late Michael Jackson and his music, the young actress and fictional, two-time cheerleader (Claire Bennett on Heroes and the title character of I Love You, Beth Cooper) called him a musical genius. Panettiere heroically defended Jackson’s reputation as one of the true icons of popular music and refused to focus on the dead music superstar’s sullied past (from his eccentric behavior to allegations of child molestation).
"He was the King of Pop, he was Michael Jackson,” declared the blonde beauty and Palisades, New York native. “He was a genius, and I really hope that people take a second to remember him for the brilliantly talented, amazingly successful person that he was and what he created, as opposed to 'Jacko’ or any of those silly rumors about him. Whatever he went through, at the end of the day, I hope that people remember how brilliant he was, because Michael Jackson was so brilliantly talented."
In addition to deceased pop stars, Panettiere has also chosen to come to the rescue of our planet’s dwindling whale and dolphin populations. Not one to simply write a check to help out her favorite charity, Panettiere recently flew to Japan to talk with government officials to encourage them to bring an end to the merciless massacre of sea mammals.
Heroes and Beth Cooper star Hayden Panettiere
Heroes and Beth Cooper star Hayden Panettiere
“I got involved with the whales and dolphins just from my love of animals,” she explained. “Someone asked me to be involved with it, and I said, 'Absolutely. I'll be there by your side until the very end, until the bitter, bitter end.’ I’m using all my energy on getting this solved, because it really is a big, big problem. Right now, we're asking people to go to and click on The Whaleman Foundation and sign our petition. We're trying to get a million signatures for the IWC meeting in about a year.
“To sit in front of cameras and do PSAs (public service announcements) and tell people, 'Save the whales,' and then to go an event, that is one thing,” she continues. “But, I would rather go back in that water and stand in front of those animals than do any PSA or go to any meeting. I did it once (in Japan). I'll do it again, again and again. I’ll keep doing it until the laws are changed.”
Once she finishes up promoting her new movie I Love You, Beth Cooper, Panettiere will be heading back to the Heroes set to finish up episodes for next season. However, she was anxious to clear up recent internet rumors concerning her career and private life. Panettiere denies she’ll be starring in the upcoming reboot of the 1980’s box office hit Footloose (“I’m not doing it, but I never say never with anything. But I'm on a show where we have two months occasionally to do something else, so it's tough to fit anything in there.”) and that she’s planning to marry 32-year-old, former camera operator and current British TV presenter, Steve Jones (who cozily accompanied her, hand-in-hand, to many of the high-profile, celebrity events at the recent Cannes Film Festival).
“I'm single and mingling, I'm not dating anyone specifically,” she insisted. “I'm not pregnant if there are any rumors like that. I'm not getting married. I'm not looking for a house with anyone. What else could there be? They're all rumors. Don't believe any of it, none of it. None of it is true.”
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