Why Lucille Ball Said Falling in Love With Her 2nd Husband Was Different From Desi Arnaz
Divorcing in 1960 after 20 years of marriage, Ball and Arnaz continued to work together even after the famous redhead headed down the aisle with comedian Gary Morton.
Lucille Ball meets her new man
Shortly after her divorce from Arnaz in 1960, Ball was preparing for a role in the Broadway play Wildcat. Out to dinner with her agent one night, she was introduced to Morton. At the time, Ball had no interest in romance.
“The gentleman didn’t register,” Ball revealed, according to the book Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz by Coyne Steven Sanders and Tom Gilbert. “I didn’t even catch his name.”
Yet Ball made an impression on Morton, where they had dinner together with a group of friends a few weeks after their initial meeting.
“The first thing I noticed about Lucy was her warmth,” Morton recalled. “The second was her carriage. I mean, she’s like a thoroughbred. When she walks into a room, you know she’s there.”
‘I Love Lucy’ star compares romances
After Ball’s tumultuous two-decade union with Arnaz, she slowly began to appreciate Morton’s becoming qualities.
“Besides liking his looks, I also liked his sense of humor,” the I Love Lucy icon shared. “Before I met Gary, I hadn’t laughed in years. I’d made other people laugh, but I hadn’t laughed.”
Morton’s attentiveness was also attractive to Ball, who had endured years of Arnaz’s infidelity.
“Gary took off to play a two-week engagement,” the legendary redhead recalled after they first started dating. “While Gary was away, he called me on the phone, or wired me, every day … When he got back to New York, he continued to call every day.”
With Morton’s wooing and adoration of Ball, the comedy genius was eventually won over. She noted a sharp distinction between instantly falling for Arnaz as opposed to her budding romance with Morton.
“When I fell in love with Desi, it was at first sight,” Ball revealed. “My love for Gary was slow growth. I liked him before I loved him.”
Lucille Ball and Gary Morton tie the knot
When rumors began swirling of impending nuptials, Ball remarked that she hadn’t considered walking down the aisle again as a possibility.
“Prior to meeting Gary, and for some while after meeting him, I had no intention of marrying again, ever,” The Lucy Show star said, as reported by Sanders and Gilbert’s book. “I saw no reason for doing so, nor did I suppose, being at low ebb emotionally, that I would be capable of falling in love again.”
Despite her trepidation, Ball and Morton, who was 13 years her junior, exchanged wedding vows in November 1961.
“It was after Gary came out to California to visit me that I decided it would be the right thing to do,” Ball said of tying the knot with Morton. “And certainly the wrong thing to do, just drift along knowing each other when we would all, especially the children [from her marriage with Arnaz], benefit by having a ‘great guy’ around the house.”
Ball and Morton were married for 28 before her death in 1989. Morton died in 1999.