But Arnaz was a chronic cheater—a 1955 cover of the tabloid Confidential wondered “Does Desi Really Love Lucy?”—and their marriage ended in 1960 due to all sorts of irreconcilable differences.
“I realized we never really liked each other,” Ball wrote in Love, Lucy. “We had a great attraction going for each other in the beginning but we didn’t approve of each other.”
The 13th and final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, hour-long plots that still featured Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel, plus a different celebrity guest star every week, ended with one of those they’re-still-hot-for-each-other moments, despite Arnaz and Ball’s divorce being in the works.
“When the scene arrived and the cameras closed in for that final embrace, we just looked at each other,” Ball remembered in her book, “and then Desi kissed me and we both cried. It marked the end of so many things.”
Arnaz wrote in A Book, “The irony of it all is how our undreamed-of success, fame, and fortune turned it all to hell.”
But more than half a century later, what they created together endures, boosted by fans old and new who can crank up I Love Lucy whenever they want on Paramount+ or Hulu. And while the easily accessible laughs would be enough, the intense behind-the-scenes story is getting fresh eyes as well.