“I Love Lucy” is my all-time favorite show and I know I am not the only one who love it and still watch it today. One of the reasons we are all so obsessed with the show even today is the love Ricky had for Lucy or more accurately, the marriage between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. These two are the original power couple of Hollywood, before a couple like, Beyoncé and Jay Z was ever even thought of. Individually they were phenomenal and interesting people but together the public has always been fascinated with their union. They were together for decades in a tumultuous relationship that ended in an amicable divorce. But the story doesn’t end there…
So, this post is about the truth about the intriguing marriage and friendship between Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball and if that is a topic you would like to delve into with me, keep reading…
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball are the two people least likely to be in a relationship, let alone be in a long-term marriage, but they were.
In 1940 Desi Arnaz was a successful band leader, and Lucille Ball was a successful yet up and coming actress in Hollywood. In the forties their relationship was considered taboo because she was a White woman, and he was a Cuban man. She was in fact five years older than he was and in the habit of dating older men. She was also into much taller men, but there was something she saw in the Cuban born singer that attracted to him strongly.
But Desi Arnaz was known to be a notorious “ladies’ man”, a fact that Ball was well aware of, yet chose to ignore. She already knew his reputation when she first met him on a previous movie set and wasn’t impressed. All that changed when in 1940 they worked together on a movie called, “Too Many Girls”. They went on to get into a relationship full of love and passion, but Ball grew tired of the infidelities early on.
He is said to have thought that it was not a big deal to have more than one woman, but Ball was in strong disagreement. They supposedly broke up more than once because she just refused to accept that she would not be the only one. One time she decided that she would just move on with her life and career.
It is thought that Desi Arnaz proposed to Ball so that he would not lose her after she called their relationship off after catching him cheating on her and was not going to put up with his womanizing behavior. In 1940, after only knowing each other for six months, they eloped, and the marriage lasted for two decades.
The marriage was had its ups, but a bunch of downs as the couple faced their share of tragedies as Arnaz also continued to live up to his reputation of being a womanizer despite marrying Ball and having one of the highest profiled marriages in Hollywood of that time.
Ball spent years breaking into Hollywood and chasing a career as an actress, so she waited to have children and motherhood was something she took very seriously. She suffered not one, but two miscarriages, which caused her immense emotional pain and was a source of pain for their marriage as well.
Their daughter Lucie revealed in a magazine interview that her parents fought a lot. It was also known that Desi Arnaz suffered from severe alcoholism and that contributed to him having a reputation for not being very nice when he was drinking and according to sources, he drank frequently.
One of the reasons Lucille and Desi ended up being on a Television show together was because he cheated so much and they were apart so much, she wanted to do a show together so she could keep an eye on him. But being on the show really did seem to bring them closer, and it most definitely kept them together because the show lasted six years forcing Desi to be home more. It also helped that the show was closely tied to their finances and staying together was a great business arrangement as the show has always been popular.
But even a successful show was not enough to keep them together. When they first married, they both were in different phases in their lives. Ball was a actress with a stable acting career and Arnaz was a bandleader who traveled doing his music. This led to them being apart, and constantly being accosted with rumors of infidelity.
Ball filed for divorce from Arnaz more than once but the problems in their marriage grew so bad that one of the times, instead of bluffing, they finally divorced in 1960. It seems like the women, the cheating and the constant blows to her self-esteem were too much.
One of the most interesting things I uncovered was that their divorce was quite civil even though their marriage had been hostile at times. They did not even use lawyers, which is a testament to their desire to remain respectful despite divorcing. They both remain devoted to being as polite as they could towards one another for the sake of their two children who they both professed to love dearly. I thought that was so cool of them and something I wish more people with kids would do.
Despite being divorced and subsequently remarrying, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz remained friends. We can’t forget the two were business partners. They started their production company “Desilu” to produce their show “I Love Lucy”, but the company went on to produce a lot of successful shows years after their show was canceled.
They actually became closer after their divorced and according to some reports; they spoke on the phone every day. They both professed to have love for each other until the days that they died with it being commonly thought by most that each other was the love of the other’s life.
On the couples 46th wedding anniversary, and incidentally two days before Arnaz died, the two divorcees stayed on the phone for hours chatting away and that is the real purpose of this post.
I want to highlight a point of marriage that is sometimes overlooked and that is the vows that people take. Divorce usually means that somewhere, someone has broken the vow that they committed to in a marriage. We can all agree in the marriage of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, there were vows that were broken and trust was in fact broken.
But as we see, in the end they honored their vow, “Till death do us part”…
Their friendship is the most beautiful tribute to marriage I have seen in a long time, and that is my truth.
But what do I know? I’m just a bootleg sociologist who nobody will listen to, so I started a blog……….
What are your thoughts?
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‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Met on the Set of This Film (outsider.com)
The Strange Marriage Of Desi Arnaz And Lucille Ball (nickiswift.com)
Psychologist’s Transcripts Reveal Lucille Ball Had Two Miscarriages, Marital Problems and More! – Closer Weekly
The Truth About Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz’s Messy Divorce (nickiswift.com)
Desilu Productions – Wikipedia