Lucille Ball posed nude for roles, fought with 'sex-obsessed' husband Desi Arnaz for sleeping with prostitutes

A new book, ‘Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Weren't Lucy & Ricky Ricardo’, portrays the couple as far removed from their wholesome TV image

                            Lucille Ball posed nude for roles, fought with 'sex-obsessed' husband Desi Arnaz for sleeping with prostitutes
Lucille Ball with her Cuban husband and co-star of the popular TV show 'I Love Lucy', Desi Arnaz (Getty Images)

Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz were thought to be the perfect couple both on-screen and off, but apparently the truth was quite different. A new book, titled ‘Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Weren't Lucy & Ricky Ricardo’, has revealed their scandalous two-decade relationship that included alcoholism, extra-marital affairs, prostitution use, and heated arguments, the Daily Mail reported.

Though the famous couple’s flings were not something unique at the time, the book goes deeper and discloses how Ball gave nude shots during her modeling days and “turned tricks” to make it big in the industry.

Ball and Arnaz exchanged vows in 1940. At the time, the ‘Here's Lucy’ star was in a better position than her eight years younger husband. Arnaz, from Cuba, had initially begun working as a janitor, before trying his luck as a musician and actor. However, when the pair’s career came to a standstill, they tried their luck with CBS’ ‘I Love Lucy’ that featured Arnaz as a Cuban bandleader, a fictionalized version of himself, and Ball as his wife.


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Soon after the sitcom’s launch, it became very popular, airing on CBS from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, and people were charmed by their chemistry.

But in reality, the "sex-obsessed" Arnaz -- whose first interaction with prostitutes was when he was just 12 years old -- was cheating on Ball with prostitutes, while she also had flings with several men. “Marriage is okay, but adultery is more fun. Just ask Lucy,” the book quotes Arnaz as saying.

American actor Lucille Ball (1911-1989) reacts to Cuban-born actor Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) in a still from the television show, 'I Love Lucy', 1956 (Getty Images)

The book has been written by Darwin Porter, who met the famous pair of the 50s when they appeared together at a 'Lucy & Desi' day at the University of Miami. Porter was the student body president and was assigned the task to drive Ball and Arnaz to the event. At the time, the two had one of their legendary arguments, which the author witnessed and mentions in his book. “She shouted denunciations at him, at one point calling him (a racial slur). She accused him of having sex with two prostitutes the night before. He didn't deny that, but claimed, 'It doesn't mean a thing, my fooling around with some hookers. Peccadilloes don't count.’”

American actress Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz arrive at London Airport with their children Lucie and Desi Jr., 10th June 1959. They have just arrived from Naples for a three-day visit (Getty Images)

In May 1960, after about 20 years of marriage, Ball and Arnaz -- who shared two children Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr -- divorced each other. Authors Porter and Danforth Prince said the actress later referred to her former husband as a “Jekyll and Hyde”.

“He drinks and gambles, he's awash in broads and booze, and that gay actor, Cesar Romero, is his devoted slave,” she had said, before adding: “Love? I was always falling in love with the wrong man. Including Desi.”

American actor Lucille Ball (1911-1989) and Cuban-born actor Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) talk to each other in a still from the television series, 'I Love Lucy',1956 (Getty Images)

Arnaz also said that their passionate relationship was badly affected by their successful representation on-screen. “We were anything but Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. They had nothing to do with us. We dreamed of success, fame, and fortune. And guess what? It all led to hell,” he added.

However, it has been said that after their divorce, they became better friends. While Arnaz died in 1986, Ball’s death came three years later when she was 77. Reportedly, they will be in the spotlight again as Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem will play them in an upcoming biopic, 'Being The Ricardos', which is directed and written by Aaron Sorkin.

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