This story originally appeared at American Web Media.
With a hit television show based on a 1950s household, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz seemed like the perfect couple. Millions of viewers turned in weekly to watch their zany antics, which everybody assumed was inspired by their deep love in real life.
In reality, their on-screen relationship wasn’t actually an honest depiction of their actual marriage, which was repeatedly marred by Arnaz’ infidelity. Though they played a loving couple on the small screen, the couple’s really relationship finally ended in 1960. It would be their second divorce.
Contrary to popular belief, The Lucille Ball Show wasn’t Arnaz’s first big break. The young star was already making a name for himself in 1940, when he meant the famously funny redhead on the set of musical comedy Too Many Girls. The pair married two months after the film’s national release, which is still generally remembered as the film that brought this doomed couple together.
Lucie filed for divorce the first time in 1944, just four years after the couple first tied the knot, though their separation wouldn’t last. In 1950, Lucie even cast Arnaz in her namesake TV show, much to the annoyance of other cast members.
“At the time the consensus was, ‘What the hell do we want with a Latin bandleader who can’t speak English?” writer Bob Weiskopf told People in 1991. “She knew that if he went on the road with the band, he’d be catting around all the time.”
Regardless, The Lucille Ball Show went on to find huge success and is still considered one of the most popular TV shows of all time. No other program managed to surpass the show’s steady viewership for more than a few seasons.
Unfortunately, Arnaz’s growing fame only led to growing rumors of infidelity; his alcoholism only exacerbated matters further.
She’d already taken her former husband back once, apparently believing Arnaz could change his ways. Instead, the pair split again in 1960. This time, Lucie vowed it was for good. (Arnaz would later write a memoir blaming his behavior on his struggles with fame and growing alcohol addiction).
“They were fighting all the time,” Lucie Arnaz, the couple’s daughter, recalled to Closer Weekly. “Their divorce was horrible. And then there was the alcoholism. 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.”
Real life rarely lives up to the Hollywood version, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were no exception. Were you aware of this famous couple’s struggles? Let us know in the comments below!