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Hannah Waddingham explains why playing Rebecca in ‘Ted Lasso’ was ‘hugely cathartic’

“It was the weirdest thing of feeling her rippling through my bloodstream."
/ Source: TODAY

Hannah Waddingham is recalling her time on "Ted Lasso."

In the show, Waddingham played Rebecca Welton, owner of the AFC Richmond football club and the ex-wife of Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head). Rebecca took the soccer team in the divorce, and at the start of the show, she hires the American football coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) to try and drag down her ex's beloved team.

But over the show's three seasons, Rebecca becomes one of the heroes of the underdog story.

During an April 21 appearance on Sunday Sitdown, Waddingham recalled what it was like to play Rebecca in the show, calling it a "cathartic" experience.

"It was the weirdest thing of feeling her rippling through my bloodstream," she said of her character.

"People wouldn’t expect me to have had that kind of verbally abusive relationship with someone, so it was hugely cathartic as well for me," Waddingham added.

Hannah Waddingham speaks with Willie Geist.
Hannah Waddingham speaks with Willie Geist.TODAY

Waddingham also recalled how she got cast in the show after her career as a "leading lady" in London's West End.

After she impressed “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss playing Septa Unella, a.k.a the "shame nun," they vouched for her to the producers of "Ted Lasso."

"It was almost like them allowing me in made everyone else prick up a bit," she said.  

"I got David Benioff and Dan Weiss to write an email to the powers that be. The subject was, 'What are we even discussing here?'" she added. "It was such a beautiful, quiet, genuine endorsement of, 'Let the girl play.'"

Waddingham said she also impressed "Ted Lasso" creator and star, Jason Sudeikis, recalling he once told her, “I saw Rebecca first. And then I had to get to know Hannah.”

"That was just gorgeous," she told Geist.

After "Ted Lasso" premiered in 2020, it quickly became a hit amongst fans and was one of the most nominated freshman comedies in Emmy Awards history, per Deadline. Not to mention, the Apple TV+ show was also the most-watched streaming original series in 2023.

When asked what made the series so popular, Waddingham said it had everything to do with the team who produced the show.

"You’ve got the alchemy of the greatest casting with other people that were pretty much unknown," she said. "And then a writers’ room that was awash with female and male feminists. So all of that coming together just produced something that when I watched it, I went, 'I made a massive hit.'"