As Netflix sees a lockdown boom doubling it’s global subscriber base, the streaming giant has released a trailer for upcoming LGBTQ documentary A Secret Love – and it’s a weepy one.
Produced by Ryan Murphy, Alexa L. Fogel and Brendan Mason, the programme shares the incredible true story of Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, who have been together for over 65 years – but kept their relationship secret for most of that time.
The documentary – directed by Donahue’s great-nephew, Christopher Bolan – was filmed from 2013 to 2018, before Donahue died last year aged 93.
A former professional baseball player, Donahue was part of the league that inspired the 1992 film A League of Her Own, and Henschel would travel with the team when she could to watch them play.
The trailer launches with the couple visiting a retirement home, with an employee saying, “We have not had any same-sex couples, but we do have family members that are.”
To which Henschel replies: “If there were, would they be accepted? Because we are a couple.”
An interviewee then says, “They’ve been in my life since day one, and they’ve always been Auntie Terry and Auntie Pat. [I] didn’t know they were gay until about three years ago.”
Another voiceover later says, “They were playing baseball! Women didn’t do that. They had the courage to do something so different in a time when difference was not looked on as something good.”
One of the women says, “I loved my mother, but she would’ve disowned me.”
According to a feature by TIME about the film, Donahue and Henschel have been together since 1947, and were “essentially inseparable” but presented to those that knew them as roommates, good friends or cousins.
“All of these strange things are happening, and I thought, this is not what I was supposed to do,” says Donahue, after revealing she’d previously dated a few men, all of whom had died from various tragic circumstances. “That was before I met Terry. That changed everything.”
The couple grew old together in Chicago, and after Donahue was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – in addition to the difficulties that old age presents – they decided to come out to family and friends during their 80s.
Speaking of Donahue, Bolan says, “She didn’t want to go to the grave feeling like she’d lived a lie.”
“You’ve kind of broken the rules your whole life,” a male voice says to Henschel in the trailer.
She replies, laughing: “Yes I have. That’s why I’m happy.”
A Secret Love arrives on Netflix on 27 April – stock up on the tissues.