The Love Story of Duffy and Purl

‘Dallas’ star Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl recall start of surprising love story: ‘Both nervous as teenagers’ Read more

Duffy and Purl are two years apart. She is a bright and talented young woman, with an easy sense of humour, shepherding me to the stage at her college theatre, while he is older. He is the son of a businessman and a woman who made her living running a company in the City of London. He wants to be a theatre director. She wants to be a film director. She wants to be a film actress. He wants to be a doctor.

On the evening of 19 April 1996, at a dinner party in Dublin’s O’Connell Street, Duffy and Purl took one step into the unknown. They were both nervous as teenagers. They each had a plan: to start a business, move to Dublin, live together.

For a moment it feels all too easy to write them off as the product of a generation of young people who are more interested in the stars in the sky than they are in the challenges and perils of the business world. They are young, energetic and enthusiastic. They are from different races and backgrounds. But there are moments, as they tell me of their first meeting, when they seem to take pains to make it clear to me that this is not a love story.

They have each taken on significant roles in the lives of women with whom they have deep personal relationships. They have each been with women who have made mistakes and have lived with a series of mistakes. They have each lost women in tragic circumstances and have spent years in the shadow of these losses. That is what they have in common: a love for women, and a capacity – and a willingness – to forgive: in the face of loss.

On the train up from Clapham Junction, I meet them in their new lives and their new careers. I was in their flat, eating breakfast and watching the films, and I watch them in theirs. I come away understanding something that neither woman, in her lifetime, ever seems to have told anyone else: that they believe they are meant to be together.

And yet there remains something of the romantic in

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