‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Didn’t Know She Was Pregnant Until the Media Announced It

I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball went through a rough time when she and her ex-husband Desi Arnaz were trying to have a baby. However, when she finally became pregnant, she didn’t even know about it. The media told her about her own pregnancy.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz tried for many years to have a child

Lucille Ball with her son | Bettmann/Getty Images
Lucille Ball with her son | Bettmann/Getty Images

In the book Love Lucy, Ball said she and Arnaz struggled to get pregnant. After a certain point, they decided to slow down their work schedules and consult a physician. Ball said she was troubled that she hadn’t gotten pregnant yet.

In 1949, Desi and I instituted a ‘stay at home’ policy. I was still childless, which caused me great heartache. So, one day, Desi and I sat in our cabbage-rose-papered living room and talked far into the night.

We finally decided that Desi would give up his cross-country tours and only take local engagements with his band. We would both consult doctors to see why we did not have children.

Lucille Ball, Love Lucy

Lucille Ball began experiencing pregnancy symptoms after a robbery

Lucille Ball with Desi Arnaz |  Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Lucille Ball with Desi Arnaz | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Back in 1950, Ball said she and Arnaz came back to their hotel room after a performance. She noticed some of the drawers of their bureaus were open and clothing was strewn about, but she was tired and didn’t pay much attention. Ball said she later woke up early in the morning and realized they had been robbed. Ball was so upset by what happened that she became nauseous.

“All my jewelry was gone, including the 40-carat aquamarine engagement ring Desi had given me,” wrote Ball. “Within a few minutes our bedroom was swarming with police checking and taking fingerprints. In the middle of all the excitement I excused myself and upchucked in the bathroom.”

Lucille Ball wanted to confirm her suspicions

Every morning, for a few weeks after that incident, Ball had what she described as “a nervous tummy.” She said she had a suspicion she might be pregnant. She and Arnaz made an appointment with a doctor for an official pregnancy test. Ball heard that a radio personality had spies at hospitals who leaked information about celebrities, so she decided to use a fake name.

“We arrived on a Friday and I immediately made arrangements for a pregnancy test, using my hairdresser’s name at the laboratory to avoid publicity,” wrote Ball. “Walter Winchell had once told me that he had spies in every big medical center in New York who provided him with inside tips about celebrities.”

The media found out Lucille Ball was pregnant before she did

Ball used a fake name, but her privacy wasn’t protected. A “spy” leaked her pregnancy result and the public was made aware of the news. Ball said she found out she was pregnant at the same time everyone else did.

“Desi was fast asleep, and I was knitting, listening to the radio,” wrote Ball. “Walter Winchell came on the air and announced: ‘After ten childless years of marriage, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are infanticipating.’ I dropped my knitting, ran into Desi’s dressing room, and woke him up. ‘We’re going to have a baby!’”

Unfortunately, Ball miscarried three months after the pregnancy announcement. “They kept me in the hospital for a week, doped with sedatives,” wrote Ball. “I cried and cried, but the doctors assured me that I still had a chance to become a mother.”

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