Donna grew up under the very watchful eye of her father, Reginald Love. When she was in her mid-teens, she fell in love with the stableboy, Michael Garrison, and they became lovers. Reginald put a stop to the affair, not realising that Donna was pregnant. When the twins were born, one twin (Victoria) was put up for adoption, and the other twin (Marley) was raised as Donna's sister -- Donna, under heavy sedation, hadn't even realized there were two of them. To keep her child near her, Donna was willing to go along with anything her father asked. Donna didn't tell Marley the truth until more than eighteen years later, when her twin sister showed up in town, and Marley was dying of leukemia. Donna had one failed marriage in the 1970s, to Bay City bad boy Carl Hutchins.
Donna's story truly begins in the early eighties. Michael Garrison (who by then had changed his name to Michael Hudson) returned to town, eager to pick up where they had left off all those years before. Donna told Michael the truth about their relationship all those years ago, and the two were able to make a match of it, until Reginald decided to interfere. When Michael's brother John (who had also changed his name to Hudson) came to town, Donna almost had an affair with him, ruining her relationship with Michael when Victoria exposed the truth. They agreed to a trial reconciliation when Donna found out she was pregnant. Donna and Michael were reunited, until Michael was forced to live a lie as part of his job. During a mock separation (on his part), Donna slept with Jake McKinnon. She didn't tell Michael, but when Jake blackmailed her with the information, she stopped fighting for custody of Mikey, a young boy she and Michael had been raising, and allowed him to go back to his real family. She and Michael broke up again.
Michael left town after their marriage broke up, and Donna set her sights on her much younger (about twenty years) business partner in KBAY, Matthew Cory. After a few months of secrecy, the two finally came out of the closet about their romantic relationship. After a pregnancy scare, Matthew proposed to Donna, and she accepted. Even Michael's return didn't separate the two lovebirds. The night before their wedding, Donna finally gave in to months of pent-up sexual frustration, and she and Michael made love. But she went ahead with the wedding anyway. When Matthew found out, he was furious, and filed for an annulment. Although it took awhile, the two finally became friends again.
Donna and Michael became close again, and were in the process of becoming engaged again when Michael, trying to save Victoria from herself, died in a snowstorm. Although Donna blamed Victoria for Michael's death, she forced Victoria to keep quiet about the fact that she had gone up to the cabin to be with Shane that night. The truth later came out in court, when Jake was charged with causing Shane's death. After reading a journal Lila had forged, Donna lost it and, seeing Victoria and Grant talking, she ran them down with her car. Unfortunately, it wasn't Victoria she hit, but Marley. Donna felt doubly guilty when, as she was recovering in the hospital, Marley was so severely injured in a fire that she had to have plastic surgery, and now looks nothing like what she once looked like.
Donna is grieving over the death of her true love, Michael Hudson, after he was killed in an accident that Vicky indirectly caused. Donna continued to blame Victoria for Michael's death and strained their relationship. However, Donna wanted to cover up Victoria's part in the accident and told her to lie to Jake. However, all else failed when Vicky came forward. However, Donna got her hands on Shane's forged journal and thought Vicky really did cheat on Jake. In the process, Donna got so enraged that she mistook Marley for Vicky and ran her and Grant down at Michael's grave. Donna suffered another loss when Marley's face was severely burned in a hospital explosion. Donna's goal is to get Marley back together with Jake.
When Donna realized that Marley was out to ruin Jake and Victoria's marriage because Donna had encouraged her, she felt she had to tell them. She and Marley tussled outside Victoria's place, and Donna ended up falling back and hitting her head. She was paralyzed from the neck down, and lost her voice. She kept trying to warn Victoria, until Marley took her to Lumina. Lumina not only returned her voice, they implanted the suggestion that she was responsible for everything that went wrong. Now Donna has to live with the guilt that her perfect daughter, Marley, kidnapped Victoria and held her hostage for weeks.