Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were married from 1940 until 1960. The I Love Lucy stars had their ups and downs but remained friends after their divorce. Arnaz said he even continued sending flowers to his ex-wife after their marriage ended. Here’s what he said about remembering his former wife long after their relationship was over.
Desi Arnaz said he was ‘madly in love’ with Lucille Ball
In his book, titled A Book, Arnaz says he and Ball argued a lot, but they loved each other. He was surprised they got married after all the fights they had, but he said their relationship was passionate.
Arnaz’s love for Ball even affected the name of their show. The main reason their show I Love Lucy wasn’t called I Love Lucille is because Arnaz says other men called his wife Lucille before him. He wanted to call her by a name that hadn’t been uttered by another romantic partner.
Desi Arnaz continued to send Lucille Ball flowers
When they were married, Arnaz sent Ball red and white carnations every year on their anniversary. Carnations were her favorite flowers. Ball and Arnaz’s marriage ended in 1960, after 20 years. However, Arnaz never stopped loving Ball. He said in his book that he continued to send his ex-wife flowers on their anniversary even after their marriage ended.
“Part of me probably totally understood why,” says their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, during a conversation with Archive of American Television. “Because we had heard the arguments, and that wasn’t fun either. But it was hard; it was very hard. And I didn’t want my daddy out of the house. He was out of the house enough; I didn’t want him to go any further away. And when my mother wanted to remarry that was like a knife in the heart.”
Ball and Arnaz married other people after they ended their marriage. Ball married Gary Morton in 1961 and Arnaz married Edith Hirsch in 1963.
Desi Arnaz’s final conversation with Lucille Ball
The couple’s wedding anniversary was top of mind until Arnaz’s final days. When he became ill due to lung cancer, he received a call from Ball. Their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, says she held the phone for her father while he had his final conversation with his former wife. He was too weak to hold the phone, so his daughter helped him. Lucie realized later that the date of the call was their wedding anniversary, November 30. In the book Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie talks about that day.
“I put the phone up to Dad’s ear in the bed,” says Lucie. “And he gave me a look that said, ‘Who is it?’ I said, ‘It’s the redhead.’ He just listened and I heard what [she] said. She just said the same thing over and over again. It was, ‘I love you. I love you. Desi, I love you.’ You could even hear the intonations of the voice change, how she meant each one, the interpretations.” Arnaz died on December 2, 1986.
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