Lucy And Desi--What Went Wrong?

A look at what happened to destroy the marriage of the couple America loved to love Luci and Desi Arnaz. The success that brought them together tore them apart.

It was when Lucille Ball starred in the musical "Too Many Girls," opposite Desi Arnaz that the couple met and fell in love. They eloped on November 30, 1940. In 1943, Desi was drafted into the Army. It was during an Army baseball game that Desi dislocated his kneecap and had to work in the army hospital entertaining troops. The hospital was located in Birmingham, California, which wasn't far from the ranch where Lucy was living. Still, the stresses of both their careers led Lucy to file for divorce in 1944. The day before the divorce, Desi met with Lucy and the pair kissed and made up. Lucy dropped the suit.

In 1945, having served his term in the Army, Desi revived the band, making engagements around the country. With Desi constantly touring and Lucy's hectic movie-making schedule, their marriage once again began to crumble.

In 1947, Lucy was staring in "Dream Girl" in summer stock. Desi planned a surprise romantic rendezvous with her. The bus carrying Desi's band crashed, and according to daughter Lucie Arnaz, had Desi not been on his way to meet Lucy he would've almost certainly been killed. The event made them determined to keep their marriage intact.

They needed to be together. Both of them striving--and succeeding--in separate careers was keeping them apart too much to be a family. Therefore, the idea for "I Love Lucy" was born.

On June 19, 1949, Desi and Lucy were remarried in a Catholic ceremony--their newfound joy in their love and mutual success leading to their desire to commit to each other all over again.

In 1950, the idea for the show was pitched to CBS. The producers didn't think Americans would accept the mixed-race marriage of an American to a Cuban; so Lucy and Desi went on tour doing a vaudeville act to prove the producers wrong. On October 15, 1951, the first episode of "I Love Lucy" aired. Its success has been unparalleled.

By the end of the 1957 "I Love Lucy" season, Desi had become too involved with his position as the president of Desilu Studios to keep up the pace of a weekly sitcom, so the show was taken off the air and replaced by thirteen hour-long specials entitled "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour." But the success that had brought them together began to once again tear them apart. Personal problems, further contributed to the marriage's downfall. In 1960, Lucy and Desi divorced, this time for good.

The last time Lucy and Desi talked was on November 10, 1986, less than a month from Desi's death on December 2, 1986. Says Lucie Arnaz, "Whatever their ultimate heartbreak, and whatever personal and professional crises they created, suffered, survived or were undone by, through it all they remained companions in spirit and, to the rest of the world, an utterly loveable, remarkably talented, incomparably funny couple...."

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