This Actress Was ‘A Bit of a Tomboy’ Who Dreamed of Becoming a Dancer — She Is Also an Independent Single Mom

Donna Mills, renowned for her role as Abby Cunningham in “Knots Landing,” once aspired to be a ballerina. Raised in Chicago, she began dance classes at a young age and enjoyed activities such as speed skating. Her mother’s occasional work as a telephone operator instilled in her a sense of independence.

Despite her parents’ values, Donna rejected their bigotry and briefly attended college to please them. However, her acting career took off when a dance teacher recognized her talent. She appeared in daytime soaps and primetime shows, notably playing one of the first lesbian characters on TV in 1972.

Donna’s breakthrough came with her iconic role as Abby Cunningham on “Knots Landing” in the ’80s and ’90s. While she values independence in her personal life, she has been in long-term relationships, including one with Larry Gilman since 2001.

Motherhood arrived later for Donna when she adopted Chloe at 54, taking an 18-year hiatus from acting to raise her. After Chloe left for college, Donna returned to acting, thriving in the industry. She also maintains a vineyard in her backyard and enjoys a unique home filled with artistic touches.