When Hayden Panettiere, star of ABC's hit show 'Nashville,' moved to Music City, she found herself pleasantly surprised. Instead of living a life surrounded by paparazzi, the actress and singer discovered normalcy in Middle Tennessee.

Panettiere, who plays bad girl Juliette Barnes on the show, is the cover girl for Southern Living's March issue -- the first celebrity to ever appear on the cover in the brand's 48-year history. It's just one more testimony to the fact that the south loves Panettiere -- and the feeling's definitely mutual.

“Living in Nashville gives me a sense of normalcy that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get back in my life,” she admits. “The people here are amazing … when I first got here, all my defenses were still up, and I was waiting for that world to suddenly creep back in."

However, Panettiere's fears were short-lived. The 24-year-old realized that she could let her guard down in the city where the infamous sweet tea gives a hint to how sweet the residents of Nashville really are.

"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," she spills.

She's happily setting into the city and planting roots firmly in southern ground. The newly-engaged actress bought a house with her fiancé, boxer Wladimir Klitschko, and she's not planning on leaving anytime soon.

Panettiere confirms, "Even if something happens to the show, I know this is a place I want to call home."

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