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What is the true story of Netflix documentary A Secret Love?

Everything you need to know about Terry Donohue and Pat Henschel's 72-year romance

Published: Friday, 1st May 2020 at 3:11 pm

One of the latest feature length documentaries to hit Netflix is A Secret Love, which chronicles a decades long love story between two women Pat Henschel and Terry Donahue.


The documentary, which was produced by Ryan Murphy, has won rave reviews and seen viewers across the world struggle to hold back the tears - here's the true story in full below...

When and how did Pat Henschel and Terry Donohue meet?

The two women at the heart of the documentary first met in 1947 - in a time where homosexuality was all but forbidden, and as a result were forced to keep their relationship a secret. They met while playing ice hockey in the wonderfully named Canadian city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - where both had grown up.


Prior to their first meeting, neither Donohue (who was 22) nor Henshel (who was 18) had previously dated women, yet they tell of how they knew they had found "true love" with each other straight away.

How successful was Terry Donohue's baseball career?

As is shown in the documentary Donohue was a professional baseball player, playing as a catcher for Peoria Redwings of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

She also reportedly served as consultant on the 1992 film A League of Their Own, which starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna and told a fictionalised account of the league Donohue had played in.

When did they tell their families about their relationship?


Shortly after their relationship began, the couple moved to Chicago - where they became involved with the city's LGBTQ community and formed a close friend group, living there for most of their lives.

However, it wasn't until they were in their 80s that they finally opened up to their families. Chris Bolan, who directed the movie and is Donohue's great nephew said in an interview with, "We were having a rum and coke in the living room, and they said, 'We have something to tell you: 'We're gay.

"There was a pause, and I said, 'I think this is wonderful.' They felt comfortable by my reaction. The floodgates opened, and they proceeded to tell me all these stories."

Terry and Pat married in 2015 - after having already been together for almost seven decades.


Where are the couple now?

Donohue sadly passed away last year at the age of 93 after suffering from Parkinson's disease - and she was reportedly able to see an early version of the documentary before she died. Meanwhile Henschel is still alive, now living in a nursing home back in Canada.


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