Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz’s Daughter Recalls Their Divorce And ‘Alcoholism’

'They were fighting all the time when we were growing up.'

J. Wilds / Getty Images

'They were fighting all the time when we were growing up.'

They may have played the part of loving parents on the I Love Lucy show but Lucie Arnaz says her parent’s relationship was rather toxic.

In a new interview with Closer, the only daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz recalls how tough her parent’s relationship was on her and her brother, saying that the couple was constantly fighting. The pair met in 1940 on the RKO set of a movie called Too Many Girls. Just six months after meeting, Lucy and Desi tied the knot.

Before the show I Love Lucy came about, Ricky toured the country with his rumba band while Lucy stayed in Hollywood to act. But the strain of being apart hurt their relationship, and eventually the pair worked together on their hit show, I Love Lucy. The series ran from 1951 to 1957 and in 1951, the couple had their first child, Lucie. Two years later, in 1953, Lucy gave birth to son Desi Arnaz Jr.

After 20 years of marriage, Lucy and Desi called it quits but there was a lot of negative things that led up to their divorce. Though there was never any physical abuse, the alcohol and fighting definitely put a strain on the couple’s relationship, Lucie says.

“They were fighting all the time when we were growing up. There was a lot of anger and screaming. Their divorce was horrible. And then there was the alcoholism. I had preferred those things had never been there. We didn’t have any abuse, but we did go through some pretty hard stuff and that’s why my parents didn’t stay together.”

But the marriage was very disappointing for Lucy. For years, fans who watched the show simply loved the fun and sweet relationship between she and Desi. When they split, it was really hard for fans to swallow, especially ones who had loyally followed the show for all those years.

“When I got divorced and disappointed millions of people by doing so,” Lucy once said.

Following the divorce, both Lucy and Desi moved on romantically with other people. Lucille married comedian Gary Morton while Ricky married his neighbor, Edie Hirsch. In 1986, Desi passed away when he was just 69-years-old. Three years later, Lucille died in 1989 at the age of 77. And even though the couple’s marriage ended in divorce, they still had somewhat of a close relationship, friend Paula Stewart reveals.

“After she died, [Gary] said to me, ‘I guess she’s happy now; she’s with Desi,” Stewart revealed.

On the flip side, before he did, Desi wrote a sweet message as a tribute to his wife.

I Love Lucy was never just the title [of the show.]”

It almost seems like the real life version of the show.