In addition to scripted projects that Ryan Murphy has created for Netflix, he’s also producing compelling documentaries, like A Secret Love, that shine a light on untold histories. The heartfelt and emotional film tells the lifelong love story between Pat Henschel and former baseball player Terry Donahue, who died in March 2019 at the age of 93 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
While Donahue’s time as a catcher for the Peoria Redwings of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League inspired the 1992 classic A League of Their Own, her nearly seven decades-long romance did not make it into the film. But A Secret Love -- directed by Chris Bolan and produced Murphy’s longtime casting director, Alexa L. Fogel -- lets Terry and Pat finally tell their own story, from the first time they met, to their professional lives in Chicago and eventually coming out, to their decision over whether or not to get married. It also documents their resilient love for each other in their final years together while facing the realities of growing old and facing illness.
“I had never heard of a love story between two women like this before,” Bolan wrote in a statement about the film, which also happens to be about his two great aunts. “It was beautiful, complicated, and truly inspiring.”
ET has an exclusive clip from A Secret Love (in the video above), which shows what went on behind closed doors for not only Terry and Pat but many of the women in the baseball league living closeted lives. “I saw it and it made me cry,” Murphy says of their story.
“Those ladies are heroes and unseen heroes is very much in my wheelhouse,” Murphy continues, explaining his desire to tell stories about varied, overlooked parts of history. “I’m interested in people not being seen. I’m interested in using whatever influence I have, which is like a big fat spotlight and shining it into dark places that haven't had a lot of attention.”
Not surprisingly, A Secret Love ended up at Netflix, where he hopes it will be viewed by the platform’s expansive subscriber base when it premieres on Wednesday, April 29. “It will be available in 135 countries and it can be seen by 175 million. That's a lot of people who now have the opportunity to discover those two ladies, you know?”