How British private schoolgirl Hannah Waddington conquered Hollywood
20th December 2023

How Hannah Waddingham conquered Hollywood: The British private schoolgirl who became a single mother at 40 is now top of the most wanted list for US’s biggest chat shows

  • Star of Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones dazzled on Late Night with Seth Meyers
  • She has a new festive special on Apple TV+ called Home for Christmas
  • From the West End to conquering Hollywood, it’s been a decades-long journey 

Hannah Waddingham has dazzled US viewers with her sparkly dress and even sparklier personality as the stunning actress appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday.

The 49-year-old English rose, who shot to stardom playing Rebecca Welton in Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso, hoped to bring in an audience for her special, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, also on Apple TV+.

The musical extravaganza, filmed live at the London Coliseum, hit the streaming service on November 22, and features guest stars Phil Dunster, Luke Evans, Sam Ryder and Leslie Odom Jr.

This caps off a year like no other for Hannah: making use of her fluent French to co-present the Eurovision Song Contest, presenting the Earthshot Prize with Prince William, starring in Christmas ads for both M&S and Baileys, and now presenting own festive special.

Next year could reach even greater heights, as she stars in the latest Mission: Impossible film alongside Tom Cruise.

Hannah Waddingham dazzled US viewers with her sparkly dress and even sparklier personality as the stunning actress appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday (Picture: Hannah Waddingham making an entrace on Late Night with Seth Meyers)

The 49-year-old English rose hopes to bring in an audience for her special, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, on Apple TV+ (Picture: Hannah Waddingham chatting to Seth Meyers on his late night show)

The 5ft 11 beauty, dressed in a midi dress from Rixo and matching sparkling heels,  balanced, as always, her glamour with her down-to-earth and quintessentially British character.

She revealed to US chat show host Seth Meyers, 49, that Leslie Odom Jr’s appearance on her special was actually a request from Hannah’s nine-year-old daughter Kitty.

The Emmy-award winning actress and singer joked that she ‘looked like a competition winner’ alongside the Broadway star.

The London-born performer has finally conquered Hollywood after 30 years in the game.

Despite two decades on Broadway and the West End, as well as roles on Game of Thrones, Sex Education and Benidorm, it was Ted Lasso that that really gave Hannah her stranglehold on the nation’s hearts. 

The award-winning three-series comedy is about an American football coach, played by Jason Sudeikis, who comes to the UK to manage a fictional English football team called A.F.C. Richmond, owned by Hannah’s character.

Hannah admitted on Seth Meyers’ show that she misses the show, which concluded in May this year, and said of the cast’s appearance on SNL that they ‘travel in a nauseating pack’.

Hannah Waddingham hosts her own musical extravaganza with a series of guest stars on her new Apple TV+ festive special (Picture: Luke Evans (left) and Hannah Waddingham (right) on her new Apple TV+ show Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas)

Hannah Waddingham’s star hit new heights after appearing in the hit show Ted Lasso (Picture: Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso) 

Hannah Waddingham stuns in a green patterned suit (Picture: Hannah Waddingham arriving in green at Good Morning America)

As Hannah is fast becoming a household name, it appears even Kate Middleton is a fan.

She and Prince William witnessed Hannah singing O Holy Night, accompanied by the English National Opera, at the Royal Variety Performance this year.

The Princess of Wales was seen turning to the person sitting to her left in the Royal Albert Hall and telling them: ‘Amazing, that was fantastic’.

Indeed, Hannah has come a long way from the young London girl, who was bullied at school for her height.

Born in Wandsworth to opera singer Melodie Kelly, Hannah grew up around theatre.

However, the star has previously detailed how she was ‘quite shy’ at school and suffered ‘terrible’ bullying.

She shared on the Kelly Clarkson Show that she was teased by her classmates for being taller than them

Hannah said: ‘I was properly bullied. I got it terrible. I was quite shy, we’re called introverted extroverts that’s what it is.

‘They used to tease me about my height when they were much much smaller but… in your face… look at me now!’

Even Catherine, Princess of Wales, is impressed by Hannah, after seeing her sing O Holy Night (Picture: Hannah Waddington shares a laugh with the Prince and Princess of Wales after the Royal Variety Performance)

Kate branded Hannah’s singing at Royal Variety Performance ‘amazing’ (Picture: Hannah Waddington performing O Holy Night at the Royal Variety Performance)

As she steps into the world of film next year, perhaps an Oscar can join her Emmy, which she keeps in her daughter’s bedroom to remind her that ‘mummy will only ever be aware when it’s for a really, blooming good reason’.

Hannah, who was told at 38 there was ‘no chance’ of her having children, is now a single mother of nine-year-old Kitty.

Kitty’s father is Italian hotelier Gianluca Cugnetto, who the star met through a mutual friend, but is no longer in a relationship with.

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