After browsing through some of the popular true-crime documentaries on Netflix that follow baffling and disturbing stories — everything from Tiger King to The Teddy Bundy Tapes —you might desire an emotional reset, something at the opposite end of the documentary spectrum. Enter, A Secret Love, Netflix's new romantic documentary. It will surely leave you teary-eyed and smiling thanks to the central romance between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, whose love spanned more than six decades.
A Secret Love tells the story of the couple who met in 1947 and fell deeply in love. Given the homophobia of the past — and present, in some areas — the two hid their relationship. A Secret Love shows how the couple’s family, friends, and coworkers assumed the two were friends, roommates, or relatives. According to the Chicago Tribune, Donahue — who was a catcher for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that inspired the 1992 Penny Marshall film A League of Their Own — met Henschel in Canada during her off-season. They moved in together in Chicago and lived there until 2009 when they decided to live openly as a couple, finally. They were in their eighties.
The documentary, filmed between 2013 and 2018, was directed by Donahue’s great-nephew Chris Bolan, and is particularly moving as Donahue passed away quite recently, in 2019. She was 93 and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. According to TIME, that diagnosis and the duo's old age helped them decide to come out. They were married in 2015, as seen in the Netflix film.
Now, Henschel lives on without her partner.
While a majority of the documentary was filmed in Chicago, the couple was originally from Saskatchewan, Canada. So, prior to Donahue’s death, the couple returned to Canada to be closer to their families. Henschel, who is now 91, still resides in Saskatchewan, per the Chicago Tribune.
There, Bolan told the newspaper, Henschel enjoys all the benefits of one's golden years: Going to casinos, playing bingo, and catching a flick or two at the movies.