Donna Sheridan, later Donna Sheridan-Carmichael (b. 1959 - 1960[1] - d. 2004[2]) is the central character of the stage musical Mamma Mia! as well as the 2008 film of the same name, as well as appearing in its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.


Donna was the owner and manageress of a hotel named the Bella Donna on the Greek island of Kalokairi. She is also the mother of Sophie Sheridan, and the love-interest of the 'three possible fathers', however ultimately, Sam Carmichael. Donna was also once a member of a band, Donna and the Dynamos, alongside her two best-friends, Rosie Mulligan and Tanya Chesham-Leigh.


Donna is kind, and motherly to Sophie. Donna is also very feisty as seen her reaction to Sam, Bill and Harry. She is also very understanding of many things.

Physical Appearance

Donna is tall with blonde hair and blue eyes. She often wears dungarees (colored blue). When she was younger she wore more colors (like yellow, red and orange)


Mamma Mia! (2008)

Donna is introduced as the doting mother to Sophie Sheridan, as well as the cash-strapped and stressed owner and manageress of a hotel, the Villa Donna on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Donna is also one of three best-friends and band members, of "Donna and the Dynamos", of which she was the lead singer. As her daughter's wedding emerges, Donna welcomes her two best-friends, Rosie Mulligan and Tanya Chesham-Leigh to the island, to whom she explains her precarious finances.

Donna explains how much pain her former lovers caused her but at the same time how easily she can come to temptation. Sophie's three possible fathers, Sam Carmichael, Bill Anderson and Harry Bright arrive, upsetting Donna who fears that Sophie will find out, unaware that Sophie was the one who invited the three men secretly. Rosie and Tanya try to rally her spirits up by singing to her and getting her to dance. Her female workers and the local villagers join in ("Dancing Queen"). In "Our Last Summer", Donna reminisces photos of her as a younger and carefree girl and tries to figure out who Sophie's true father is as she herself is unaware. At her daughter's bachelorette party, Donna performs one of her old band songs "Super Trouper" with her former bandmates Rosie and Tanya as "Donna and the Dynamos", years since their last performance. As the wedding emerges, Donna confronts her former lover Sam Carmichael and realizes that she is still in love with him, despite him abandoning her. She struggles to get over their rocky past, despite Sam's heartfelt attempts at winning her back ("SOS"). Donna helps Sophie get ready for her wedding day and reminisces Sophie's childhood and how quickly she has grown up and regrets not making more memories with Sophie while she had the chance ("Slipping Through My Fingers"). Sadly, Donna accepts that Sophie must grow up and fondly helps her prepare. She also tearfully agrees to step into the father role and give Sophie away at the wedding and explains how her mother, Sophie's grandmother, told Donna not to bother coming home when she fell pregnant. Donna tells an emotional Sophie she doesn't regret a second of her time with Sophie. Minutes before the wedding, Donna reveals to Sam the pain she went through over losing him ("The Winner Takes It All"). In I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do," Sam reveals that he has loved Donna for 21 years and proposes. Donna happily agrees and they marry in place of Sophie and Sky. She is seen in the following scene smiling and kissing Sam and watches with amusement when Rosie sings "Take A Chance On Me" in a bid to seduce Bill. Donna is seen finally as a silhouette, walking Sophie down the docks and hugging her goodbye as Sophie and Sky leave to travel. Donna watches them fade away with Sam, Bill, and Harry nearby.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)


During the 1970s, Donna met and became friends with Rosie Mulligan and Tanya Chesham-Leigh during her studies at the University of Oxford. She graduated from New College in 1979. During this time the three women also formed their girl-band, "Donna and the Dynamos". Once graduated, Donna refused to return home because her mother Ruby Sheridan has not attended her graduation, deciding to travel instead. Donna went to Paris where she met and had a brief romance with Harry Bright to whom she revealed her plans to travel to the Greek island of Kalokairi. When Donna missed the ferry to Kalokairi she then met Bill Anderson on his boat with whom she also eventually shared a romance. Harry follows Donna to Greece but misses the ferry, and he leaves heartbroken. Donna also met and fell in love with Sam Carmichael, however, he later left her as he was already engaged. Rosie and Tanya joined Donna in Kalokairi, where they performed as Donna and the Dynamos at the taverns. They supported Donna during her struggles. With endless support from her friends and the Greek villagers. Donna progresses through an unexpected pregnancy and eventually gives birth to a healthy baby girl whom she names Sophia (Sophie for short). She happily cradles her new daughter and attends a quaint, loving christening and vows to care for and protect Sophie, despite not knowing who the father is.

Present Day

Five years after the events of Mamma Mia! it is implied that Donna is absent from the life of Sophie Sheridan, who, like her during the late 1970s, is pregnant and anxious. It is revealed in the film that a year prior Donna sadly passed away from cancer, though she lives on through Sophie. Donna is briefly seen in the chapel as she says goodbye to her daughter. She, along with the other main characters, sing Super Trouper before the credits, having been brought back to life by the power of music, and makes amends with her mother, Ruby.

Behind the Scenes

In the 2008 film and its sequel, Donna is portrayed by famed American actress Meryl Streep. A young Donna appears in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, portrayed by English actress Lily James


  • Meryl Streep attended a showing of the musical on Broadway, and found it to be an affirmation of life. Sending a very positive letter to the producers, and they all decided to campaign to get her to play Donna Sheridan.
  • It is implied in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again", that Fernando Cienfuegos, Ruby Sheridan’s former lover, is Donna’s father[3].
  • Previously stating that she doesn’t appear in sequels, Meryl Streep wanted to make an appearance in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again despite this, because she loved playing Donna in the first film.


  1. According to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again the Donna flashbacks occur in 1979. Donna is nineteen at the time, meaning she is born in ethier late 1959 or 1960. This is consistent with the implication that Fernando Cienfuegos is Donna's father from an affair with Ruby in "Mexico, 1959". In Mamma Mia Sophie is said to be twenty years old. This means that, as Donna was 19 when she got pregnant she was twenty when she gave birth - combined with Sophie's age of twenty, this means that Donna is forty years old in Mamma Mia.
  2. Since Donna was born in 1960 and the events of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again are in 2005 and Donna died a year before which is 2004 so she was 44 when she died
  3. Since Donna was born when Ruby and Fernando had a love affair that means Fernando is Donna's father
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