ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix's 'A Secret Love' Traces Lesbian Couple's Unlikely Romance Across 6 Decades

Terry Donahue's story inspired 1992's "A League of Their Own." Now, audiences will get an in-depth look at her life with Pat Henschel off the field.

After years of keeping their relationship under wraps, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel are getting candid. 

A new Netflix documentary, “A Secret Love,” explores the couple’s powerful and heartwarming story. Produced by Ryan Murphy, the film highlights the evolution of LGBTQ rights since the women first met in 1947 through the present day, as they are settling into a retirement facility. 

At the time of their first meeting, Donahue played catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Many will be familiar with the women’s league from the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” starring Geena Davis and Madonna. 

“We always wore dresses, makeup,” Donahue explains in the trailer, viewable above. “The whole thing. Anybody who was not gay, they simply didn’t know.” 

Having grown up in a conservative family, Henschel believed she’d be forced to spend her adult years “living a lie.” 

“I loved my mother, but she would’ve disowned me,” she adds.

“A Secret Love” was a passion project for director Chris Bolan, who happens to be Donahue and Henschel’s great-nephew. The film had originally be slated to have its world premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March before the festival was canceled amidst the coronavirus crisis. 

Calling his great-aunts’ story “beautiful, complicated, and truly inspiring,” Bolan is hopeful viewers come away from “A Secret Love” with “having seen parts of their family, their loved ones, their lives reflected” in some capacity. 

“In a time where we are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, I feel that stories such as Pat and Terry’s have never been more important,” he said.

“A Secret Love” hits Netflix on April 29. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that “A Secret Love” had premiered at South by Southwest in 2019. It was actually slated to debut at the 2020 festival.