Report: Klitschko splits from starlet

Report: Klitschko splits from starlet

Published May. 12, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Actress Hayden Panettiere and her boxer boyfriend, Vladimir Klitschko, have broken up, People magazine reported Thursday.

"Even though we've decided splitting up is best for both of us, we have an amazing amount of love and respect for each other and remain very close friends," the former "Heroes" star said in a statement.

The 21-year-old dated the Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champ for 18 months. They met at a launch party for a coffee table book, "Room 23," that featured seductive and glamorous photos of A-list stars including Panettiere.

"I said, 'You're huge!' and he said, 'You're tiny!'" Panettiere said on "Live with Regis and Kelly" this February about first meeting the hunky athlete.


The two reportedly split due to the strain of their long distance relationship,

"We had a great time together, but it's not that easy to manage a relationship between two continents," Klitschko, 35, said about the hardship of keeping their romance alive given his homebase of Germany and her life in Los Angeles.

"I have a lot of respect for Hayden as a person and as a friend, and I believe we'll keep our friendship even after the separation," he added.

Klitschko is the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion in history for the IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Titles.

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