Donna Sheridan, later Donna Sheridan-Carmichael (b. 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 is the owner and manageress of a hotel named the Villa 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.

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 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, Harry Bright arrive, upsetting Donna who feels stupid to go out with them but 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 Our Last Summer, Donna reminisces photos of her as a younger and carefree girl. In her daughter's bachelorette paty, 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. Donna helps Sophie get ready for her wedding day and reminisces Sophie's childhood and how quickly she has grown up, however, Donna learns to let go of her daughter in 'Slipping Through My Fingers'. Minutes before the wedding, Donna reveals to Sam the pain she went through over losing him. In 'I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do', Sam reveals that he has loved Donna for 21 years and proposes. Donna agrees and they marry in place of Sophie and Sky.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

During the 1970's, 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 Harry Bright to whom she revealed her plans to travel to the Greek island of Kalokairi. Donna then met Bill Anderson on his boat with whom she also eventually shared a romance. Harry follows Donna to Greece but finds she has already left Greece, and he leaves heartbroken. She 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 taverna. They supported Donna during her struggles. Donna learned how to cope with a lack of support to become a loving mother to her newly born, Sophie Sheridan.

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 1970's is pregnant and alone. It is revealed in the film that a year prior Donna passed away, to unknown causes. Though Donna died she lives on through Sophie.

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.


  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 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