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May 12, 2011 8:10 AM

Hayden Panettiere & Wladimir Klitschko Break Up!

Hayden Panettiere and her boxer boyfriend have split!

The petite 21-year-old confirmed she and giant 35-year-old Wladimir Klitschko parted ways, telling PEOPLE "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."

Wladimir also sounded off on the split, saying height wasn't to blame -- but distance was: "We had a great time together, but it's not that easy to manage a relationship between two continents. 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."

The two were last seen out in public in April for the red carpet premiere of Wladimir's documentary "Klitschko."

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