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According to Lucie Arnaz, her parents Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz adored each other until the very end.
“They had a great divorce,” the 67-year-old recently told Closer Weekly. “They had a very successful divorce. It was fantastic.”
“If their parents can’t get along and that happens, then kids should be so lucky to have a divorce like my mom and dad because they were kind,” Arnaz said. “They never said bad words about each other and they stayed friends until the day they died. It was a fantastic romance that got even more passionate and friendlier after they were not married to each other anymore.”
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According to the magazine, Ball and Arnaz first met on the set of 1940’s “Too Many Girls” and were married that same year. However, the marriage proved to be rocky and Ball came close to filing for divorce in 1944. They eventually reconciled and their son Desi Arnaz Jr. was born a year and a half later.
The couple premiered their sitcom “I Love Lucy” in 1951 and it quickly became a sensation. Ball and Arnaz welcomed their daughter that same year.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz holding their two children, Desi Jr (left) and Lucie. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
“I Love Lucy” ran until 1957 and was followed up by “The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show” — later known as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” from 1957 until 1960. Ball and Arnaz called it quits that same year.
“They just knew that it wasn’t working for them to stay married and that was sad,” Lucie explained. “But once they decided to stop, everything got much easier for everybody. We spent all of our weekends and summers with my dad and my mother for the rest of the time. But they were very pleasant with each other about visitation and who got to go with who and when. There was never a moment of animosity after that at all.”
Lucie pointed out a documentary she produced about her parents titled “Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie,” where viewers can see Ball and Arnaz frolicking in a swimming pool with her son Simon.
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“The way they are with each other, the way they treat one another in the pool is so charming and you’d think they were the oldest married couple in Hollywood,” said Lucie. “They hadn’t been married to each other for 20-something years, but it’s charming…. There was such passion in that marriage that it could have gone either way. But it was a good thing that they were together; they created a lot of good stuff together.”
Arnaz remarried to Edith Mack Hirsch in 1963. The couple stayed together until her death in 1985. Arnaz died a year later in 1986 at age 69 from lung cancer.
Ball also found love again and married Gary Morton in 1961. The couple stayed together until her death in 1989 at age 77 from an aortic dissection.
Looking back, Lucie said she had no regrets growing up with two celebrity parents. In fact, she’s determined to keep the legacy of Ball and Arnaz’s work in Hollywood alive.
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“… To me, it was just the way it was,” said Lucie. “And because I grew up with it from the moment of my birth, I don’t remember anything else. Neither does [my brother] Desi. This was what my dad and my mom did for a living. This is the work that they went away to go and do. And that’s all… We lived a pretty normal life away from all of that. If anything, it’s just that they were working parents like many kids have working parents today who don’t get home till late.”
Lucie also stressed to Closer Weekly that despite the ups and downs Ball had in her marriage to Arnaz, she never took their success with “I Love Lucy” for granted.
“She was always grateful for all the people who loved that show and who continued to love her until she died,” said Lucie. “She was very kind to her fans and always took time for them. She taught me that if they come up and bother you while you’re eating your dinner, don’t get crazy. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have anything. And my father was the same way: very generous, very appreciative, very grateful for every single bit of it. They never got tired of it.”
Back in May of this year, Ball’s granddaughter Kate Luckinbill-Conner told Closer Weekly that Ball, famously known as the queen of comedy, was simply grandma to her.
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“My grandmother was a regular girl from upstate New York,” she recalled at the time. “She didn’t set out to be anyone’s icon. I remember her giving me these incredible bubble baths. She loved to wrap me up in towels and do my hair and makeup. She’d dress me in these silk pajamas and let me take a nap on her California king-size bed — it was just the most expansive, largest thing I’d ever seen in my life!”
“She would make a whole adventure happen for me,” continued Luckinbill-Conner. “Did I want to go out and swim? Did I want to play in the playhouse outside? Did I want to eat? It felt like my world and she was just living in it.”
Kate Luckinbill-Conner attends The Hollywood Museum hosts lobby tribute “Remembering Lucy” on April 24, 2019. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
Luckinbill-Conner insisted having Ball as a grandma was one of the best experiences she has ever had. She shared that even as a child, Ball shared no-nonsense life lessons on what it meant to be a successful woman.
“She wanted to be a mom, and she wanted to be a wife,” she said. “She also wanted to be an actress and a comedian, and she was determined to do it all. She was humble and she was a real person who just didn’t take no for an answer.”
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Luckinbill-Conner isn’t the only one to have such fond memories of the “I Love Lucy” icon.
Lucille Ball as Lucy Esmeralda MacGillicuddy Ricardo circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Ball’s good friend, Tom Watson, also told the outlet that one of his favorite memories was simply witnessing the love she had for her co-star and ex-husband, Desi Arnaz.
“They were the best thing for each other and the worst thing for each other,” said Watson. “They could push all the wrong buttons and all the right ones. It’s just, they were better off apart at the end. For whatever reason, the first marriage didn’t work out. [But] she didn’t throw him away. They became good friends because they had kids in common.”
“They recognized the fact, ‘OK, this is where we need to be now,’” he added. “But they never lost their affection for each other, ever.”
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