LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) -- Hannah Waddingham, who plays AFC Richmond soccer team owner Rebecca Welton on the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso, said her character's demeanor improves in the second season, which premieres Friday.
"We're seeing a happier Rebecca," Waddingham told UPI in a video interview. "We're seeing a newly hopeful Rebecca. I think we're seeing a Rebecca who wants to believe."
Ted Lasso began when Rebecca hired American football coach Ted (Jason Sudeikis), hoping he'd turn AFC Richmond into a failure. That's because Rebecca held onto the British team after her divorce from Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head) and hoped to run his prized asset into the ground as revenge.
The show premiered Aug. 14, and Apple renewed it for a second season Aug. 19. The streaming service renewed it for a third season Oct. 29.
Ted's good-natured attitude proved infectious. He inspired AFC Richmond's players to improve on the field and reignited Rebecca's passion for the team by the end of the first season.
"When she walks into the locker room, they're not just these people who are a part of something that she had bestowed upon her," Waddingham said. "They're her boys."
Season 2 sees Rebecca starting to date again. The 46-year-old Waddingham said Rebecca's love life still is a work in progress.
"She's literally lost her way and then some in that department," Waddingham said. "She doesn't know which way is up and she's just trying. All I know is she's trying."
Rebecca receives help from the ensemble of Ted Lasso characters. For example, she has become close with Keeley (Juno Temple), a social media influencer who was dating the star player, Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), in the first season.
Temple, 32, said that Keeley supports Rebecca through a series of suitors in Season 2.
"I think Keeley really listens," Temple said. "She's constantly listening to what Rebecca has to say about the current lover in each moment that goes through this season."
After Keeley broke up with Jamie and he left AFC Richmond, Keeley began to date AFC Richmond captain Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). Temple said Keeley and Roy are in a healthy relationship in Season 2.
"I think deciding to fall in love and be loved by somebody always is a healthy choice, even if it ends with heartbreak," Temple said. "Heartbreak is weirdly healthy. You learn more. It's a constant progression of becoming more and more human."
In the season premiere, Keeley and Roy join Rebecca and a new boyfriend for a double date. At the end of the date, Roy gives her advice that will inspire her for the rest of the season.
"Roy is emotionally inarticulate, but he does have all of these thoughts and instincts that are inside him," said Goldstein, 41. "I think for that moment, it sort of burst out of him."
In turn, Keeley discovers she is even more attracted to Roy's emotional side. Temple said she was excited by this story development.
"I can relate to getting turned on by a man being emotional," Temple said. "As long as it's honest, that's all that matters."
Waddingham said Roy reassures Rebecca later in the season, too.
"He says, 'Just be you. Just be you, and you'll be fine,'" Waddingham said.
Learning to be herself is part of Rebecca's journey, series writer and co-creator Brendan Hunt said. The 49-year-old Hunt also plays Ted's assistant coach, Beard, on the show.
"She's just at a point of realizing that she deserves better," Hunt said. "She has to love herself a little bit more first. We'll see where that takes her."
New episodes of Ted Lasso premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.