Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel met when Donahue was 22 and playing as catcher for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League — the women’s pro organization that would inspire the 1992 Penny Marshall film A League of Their Own. But while Donahue was considered a trailblazer and feminist icon in the 1940s, she still had to hide her queer identity for the better part of 65 years. That’s how long Donahue and Henschel have been together, after falling in love in 1947 and remaining inseparable since; hiding their relationship from their families and loved ones for decades. Donauhue and Henschel’s secret romance finally gets the spotlight in the upcoming Netflix documentary A Secret Love, from producer Ryan Murphy and executive producer Jason Blum. Watch the A Secret Love trialer below.
A Secret Love Trailer
For much of their 65-year relationship, Donauhue and Henschel’s family and coworkers thought of them simply as good friends and roommates, while others knew them as cousins who lived together. They eventually decided to come out when they were in their 80s — a journey that is captured in A Secret Love, directed by Donahue’s great-nephew, Christopher Bolan.
The moving documentary follows the pair as they grow old together and grapple with Donahue’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. Donahue would die at age 93 in 2019. “She didn’t want to go to the grave feeling like she’d lived a lie,” Bolan told Time.
Here is the synopsis for A Secret Love:
A SECRET LOVE tells an incredible love story between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, whose relationship spans nearly seven decades. Terry played in the women’s professional baseball league, inspiring the hit movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. But the film did not tell the real-life story of the women who remained closeted for most of their lives. This documentary follows Terry and Pat back to when they met for the first time, through their professional lives in Chicago, coming out to their conservative families and grappling with whether or not to get married. Facing the hardships of aging and illness, their love proves resilient as they enter the home stretch. Directed by Chris Bolan and produced by Alexa L. Fogel, Brendan Mason and Ryan Murphy. Executive produced by Blumhouse, and in association with Now This.
A Secret Love premieres on Netflix on April 29, 2020.
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