‘I Love Lucy’: The Sad Reason Lucille Ball Referred To Desi Arnaz as Jekyll and Hyde

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were one of Hollywood’s most famous couples. When they got divorced in 1960 after being together for 20 years, I Love Lucy fans were devastated. But Ball couldn’t put up with Arnaz’s behavior (the drinking and the infidelity) any longer.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | Archive Photos/Getty Images

Why Lucille Ball thought of Desi Arnaz as Jekyll and Hyde

It wasn’t a big secret that Arnaz was unfaithful to Ball. The former couple’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, spoke to the Chicago Tribune about her father’s infidelity.

“My father loved women, and Latin American countries have a whole different code of ethics,” she said.

No matter the reason, Ball couldn’t stand being with a husband who was unfaithful. She even compared her ex to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the duplicitous main character from Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novella, The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde.

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“He (Arnaz) was like Jekyll and Hyde,” the Los Angeles Times reports the I Love Lucy icon saying. “He drank and he gambled and he went around with other women. It was always the same: booze and broads.”

In 2018, Lucie told Closer Weekly that her parents endured a “horrible” divorce.

“There was a lot of anger and screaming,” she said. “Their divorce was horrible. And then there was the alcoholism. I had preferred those things had never been there. 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.”

Lucie Arnaz reflects on when mom Lucille Ball and dad Desi Arnaz told her and her brother they were getting divorced

In 2016, Lucie was interviewed by the Television Academy Foundation where she recalled the heartbreaking conversation in which her parents told her and her younger brother that they were getting divorced.

“Well, like any kids whose parents get divorced, you definitely don’t want that to happen,” she said. “And it was terrifying. I hear Cher singing in my head somewhere right now because that’s exactly what happened: ‘You better sit down kids.’ You know, and those words are pretty much, I think, what every kid goes through when their parents tell them it’s not working out anymore.”

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While Lucie didn’t want her parents to split up, she said she understood their decision, even then. They’d been fighting a lot.

“Part of me probably totally understood because we had heard the arguments and that wasn’t fun either,” she said. “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.”

Thankfully, after everyone cooled down, Ball and Arnaz grew to be close friends after they divorced. They remained close throughout the rest of their lives.