Hannah Waddingham candidly opens up about her young daughter Kitty’s terrifying health scare

Hannah Waddingham has opened up about her daughter Kitty’s terrifying health scare, revealing she wasn’t able to talk about it for a ‘very long time’.

The Ted Lasso star, 48, was left terrified five years ago when her daughter Kitty, who was three years old at the time, suddenly fell ill and had to be hospitalised.

Reflecting on the difficult time, Hannah said Kitty – who she shares with ex Gianluca Cugnetto – was suddenly diagnosed with auto-immune disorder Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP).

HSP is a condition that involves swelling of small blood vessels, often affecting children between ages two and six. In most cases, children will make a full recovery, but can be left with kidney problems.

Speaking to People about Kitty’s illness, the single mother admitted that she wasn’t able to talk about the terrifying time for a long while, but is able to address it now.

Difficult time: Hannah Waddingham has opened up about her daughter Kitty’s terrifying health scare, revealing she couldn’t talk about it for a ‘very long time’

Health: The Ted Lasso star, 48, was left terrified five years ago when her daughter Kitty, who was three years old at the time, suddenly fell ill with HSP and had to be hospitalised

Health: The Ted Lasso star, 48, was left terrified five years ago when her daughter Kitty, who was three years old at the time, suddenly fell ill with HSP and had to be hospitalised 

She told the publication: ‘I can talk about it now, but I couldn’t for a very long time. She was in the hospital for a while with them not knowing what it was.’

The Sex Education actress had been filming Krypton for Warner Bros. Television in Belfast when she received the terrifying phone call informing her of her daughter’s diagnosis. 

Hannah said she was left very shaken by the ordeal and decided to step back from any jobs that would take her away from London amid her daughter’s illness.

She explained that she was reluctant to audition for Ted Lasso, even though filming was near her home, but did so after being persuaded by her team and quickly fell in love with the role of Rebecca Welton.

Hannah added that Kitty, who is currently eight years old, is now doing ‘much better’, which she said is ‘the greatest’ as she gushed over her beloved daughter.

It is not the first time that Hannah, who doesn’t show Kitty’s face on social media, has candidly spoken about her daughter’s struggle with the illness.

Appearing on Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time podcast in 2021, Hannah detailed what HSP is like, describing it as ‘horrific’.

‘For anyone who knows what it’s like, it’s really horrific,’ she explained.

Terrifying: Reflecting on the difficult time, Hannah said Kitty - who she shares with ex Gianluca Cugnetto - was in the hospital for a long time before they found out what was wrong with her

Terrifying: Reflecting on the difficult time, Hannah said Kitty – who she shares with ex Gianluca Cugnetto – was in the hospital for a long time before they found out what was wrong with her 

Career: Hannah said she then decided to step back from any jobs that would take her away from Kitty, before eventually signing on to Ted Lasso, which is filmed near her home

Career: Hannah said she then decided to step back from any jobs that would take her away from Kitty, before eventually signing on to Ted Lasso, which is filmed near her home

Kitty’s illness changed the course of her career as she was unable to fly home from Belfast, where she was filming, to be with her daughter while she was in hospital.

After finally getting to see Kitty the following day, Hannah said she informed her management in both the UK and LA that she could no longer be away from her child.

‘I am first and foremost a mum, and more importantly a single mum,’ she told her agents over a conference call. 

Recounting the story in the US while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2021, she revealed how she then ‘asked the universe’ for a dream role that would enable her to be close to her precious child.

‘I’m going to ask the universe for something, which is probably unreasonable but, I’m going to say, “Thank you for making my little girl better,” she told Ellen.  

“Can I thank you for what you’ve given me already, but can I just ask you for something that is close to home so I can do my main role, which is to be mama.

‘And also can I ask that it’s something that really shows what I can do [as an actress]. And I hope that’s not asking too much.”‘

Motherhood: Hannah had previously said how she always kept her daughter Kitty close to her, as she balanced motherhood and her demanding acting career

Motherhood: Hannah had previously said how she always kept her daughter Kitty close to her, as she balanced motherhood and her demanding acting career 

Ex: It is not clear when Hannah parted ways with the father of her child. She is pictured with her former partner, hotelier Gianluca Cugnetto, in March 2015

Ex: It is not clear when Hannah parted ways with the father of her child. She is pictured with her former partner, hotelier Gianluca Cugnetto, in March 2015

Hannah ended the moving story by revealing that it was just ‘two months later this meeting came up’ for the Ted Lasso role, which is just a half hour drive from her home.

It is not clear when Hannah parted ways with the father of her child, but Hannah gushed over being a single parent after winning Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2021 Emmy Awards.

After her win, Hannah told reporters: ‘You know, I’m a single mama, and I hate being away from her. 

‘And I always say to her, I’ve taught her as a mantra ever since she was a little girl: ‘What does mummy always do?’ and she always says: ‘Mummy always comes back.’

WHAT IS HENOCH-SCHONLEIN PURPURA? 

HSP is a form of blood vessel inflammation and affects small blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, commonly characterised by a purple rash.

It affects one in 10,000 people, usually aged between two and 10 – in a minority of cases complications lead to organ failure.

It’s not known exactly what causes it, but it often seems to follow on from a viral infection, such as a cold or respiratory tract infection, and is more common in the winter months.

HSP is not an inherited disease and is not ‘catching’ so it cannot be passed on from person to person.

There are usually three key symptoms. The first is a characteristic rash of raised red/purple spots that do not disappear when you press on them. It can be very alarming as it’s similar to the type of rash you see with meningococcal septicaemia. The rash is caused by tiny blood vessels (capillaries) near the surface of the skin becoming inflamed and damaged, and leaking blood into the skin.

An HSP rash is generally found in the lower part of the body – around the buttocks and lower legs. It can also appear on the body, face and hands. Once the rash has fully appeared it doesn’t come and go – it tends to stay for days or even weeks.

The second symptom is often abdominal pain, often in the form of stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. Many children also experience joint pains and blood may appear in the urine.

Unfortunately only the symptoms can be treated. But the condition usually settles down within around six weeks and the vast majority of people make a full recovery with no long-term effects.

The most serious possible consequence of HSP is kidney damage. For this reason, regular urine tests to monitor kidney function are important, even once someone has recovered.

Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital

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