‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Said Desi Arnaz Woke Her Up in the Middle of the Night for Water

I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball said the day she married Desi Arnaz was “the most momentous day” in her life. However, early in the relationship, Ball said she began to see that Arnaz had some views on love and marriage that didn’t always align with her beliefs.

Desi Arnaz was raised believing men had the final say, according to Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

According to Ball, Arnaz grew up believing that a man had the final say and women were to stay in the background. “Desi was raised with the idea that the man’s word is law; he makes all the decisions; God made woman only to bear children and run the home,” wrote Ball.

Although Lucille Ball says she wanted to be with a man who would take over and protect her, she also had an independent side. She was concerned she wouldn’t be able to be in a relationship with a man who had to have the final say.

“I wanted a masterful husband, God knows—and part of me wanted to be cherished and cared for,” continued Ball. “But all my life I’d been taught to be strong and self-reliant and independent, and I wondered if I could change.”

Lucille Ball recalled the night Desi Arnaz woke her up for a glass of water

According to Ball, Arnaz expected his needs to be met no matter what time of day it was. One night, he shook her awake so he could ask her to get him a glass of water.

“On our wedding night Desi woke me out of a sound sleep by shaking my shoulders,” recalled Ball. ‘What is it? What’s the matter?’ I thought the hotel must be on fire. ‘I’m thirsty,’ he explained. ‘Please get me a glass of water, darling.’ I was out of bed and running the tap in the bathroom before I woke up sufficiently to wonder why in the hell he didn’t get it himself.”

Lucille Ball said Desi Arnaz was sometimes possessive

Ball said she would see little bits of Arnaz’s possessiveness come out now and then. One of the first times this happened was shortly after they were married.

Desi had been staying at the Hotel Maurice with his mother; we decided to begin married life in style at the Pierre. I thought Desi would be delighted to find me all settled there when he finished his last Roxy show that night, but instead he was furious.

‘I won’t have my wife riding around New York alone een a taxi!’ he stormed. I couldn’t believe my ears. ‘You sure are possessive as hell all of a sudden,’ I told him. We glared at each other and then fell helplessly into each other’s arms—the way so many of our quarrels were to begin and end for years to come.

Lucille Ball, Love, Lucy

Lucille Ball once said Desi Arnaz was the only man for her

Another one of Ball’s concerns was that her schedule and Arnaz’s schedule would clash. She wasn’t sure if they would be able to nurture a relationship if they were always on the go.

“We weren’t competitive in our careers. Desi’s name was as well known in show business as mine and he made just as much money,” wrote Ball. “But he was supposed to spend six months of the year in Hollywood and six months on the road, and what kind of a life was that for us?”

Ball pushed her reservations aside and continued her relationship with Arnaz. At the time, she said she only wanted him to father her children. “I sensed in Desi a great need,” wrote Ball. “Beneath that dazzling charm was a homeless boy who had no one to care for him, worry about him, love him. And I wanted him and only him as the father of my children.”

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