Panettiere still is struggling with the public image

LOS ANGLES: Heroes star Hayden Panettiere is struggling with the public image of her father as a wife beater - because "that's so not who he is".

The actress' dad, Alan, was arrested and charged with misdemeanour battery after a scuffle with his wife at a party, but Panettiere insists it was all a big misunderstanding.

And she's still struggling to deal with the 2008 controversy.

Panettiere tells Seventeen magazine, "It's hard enough going through it personally within your family, let alone when the entire world knows about it."

Alan allegedly left a bruise on his wife Lesley's cheek.

His famous daughter adds, "It put my dad in this light that is so not him... Your mind goes to: 'He abuses, he beats his wife.' For my dad to have that reputation now, which is so not who he is, kills me.

"I'm less concerned about myself, but when it involves my family or people I care about, I mean, I'll fly off the handle for my family."