Lucille Ball’s Daughter Describes the Interesting Relationship Between Her Step-Father and Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz got divorced in 1960. It was a “horrible” divorce, according to their children, Lucie and Desi Jr. But a few years after the split, the famous former couple was able to remain friendly. Some have even said that their relationship became “more passionate” in the years following the divorce.

Not too long after Ball and Arnaz split, the I Love Lucy star remarried comedian Gary Morton. In a 2016 interview, Lucie described their unique relationship.

Portrait of Lucille Ball and Gary Morton
Lucille Ball and Gary Morton | Bettmann, Getty Images

Lucie Arnaz on Gary Morton as a step-father

When Lucie first learned that her mother was going to get remarried less than a year after she divorced from her father, she was heartbroken.

“When my mother wanted to remarry, I mean, that was like a knife in the heart,” she told the Television Academy Foundation. “Just, ‘You’re kidding, right? It’s only been a year, not even,’ So it was a rough period. For all of us.” 

But, eventually, Ball’s daughter came around.

“[He] was a nice guy. He was a funny guy, comedian, Gary,” she said. “Catskills comedian guy. Tall and kind of handsome-ish. Made [Lucille Ball] laugh and didn’t embarrass her, you know, in any way. Didn’t drink too much, didn’t smile and giggle with the ladies. I don’t know if they had a passionate marriage. I hope so. I don’t really know, we didn’t talk about things like that.”

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Lucie even grew to “respect” Morton for being “a good step-father.”

“It took him a while to learn how to do it, just like it took me a while to learn how to be a good step-mother, which I had to become later on in my life,” she said. “He was fine, you know, and I think he was content being just who he was.” 

Desi Arnaz and Gary Morton

Desi and Ball were able to stay friends after things cooled down, so Lucie’s father was still in the picture.

“My father and my mother stayed good friends after the divorce,” she said. “It took a few years to calm down, but they stayed good friends to the bitter end and that was good for the kids.”

According to Lucie, Morton “spoke very highly” of Desi.

“He was actually a tremendous supporter of my dad,” she said. “Always spoke very highly of my dad, he gave him credit even when he was talking to the audience during the warm-ups, he would always say wonderful things about Desi and, ‘Wow, he created all of this.’ He didn’t have any of those hang-ups that, you know, the husband coming in might have about the ex-husband.”

Gary Morton and Lucille Ball
Gary Morton and Lucille Ball | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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The feeling, however, wasn’t always mutual.

“My father, I can’t say felt the same way about Gary,” Lucie laughed. “He would always make jokes about Gary, and I always wanted to say, ‘Well, you know, you can’t make jokes! If you don’t want her, somebody else can have her!’ You know, that kind of thing. Used to call him Barry Norton.”

But, deep down, Lucie says “they really were friends.”