Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had a 'horrible divorce,' says daughter: 'They were fighting all the time'

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were considered the perfect couple on television — but the real-life marriage of the two stars behind “I Love Lucy” was far from a comedy.

Ball and Arnaz appeared in the beloved sitcom, which aired from 1951 until 1957, as well as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” from 1957 until 1960 when the duo finally called it quits after 20 years of marriage.

Their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, recently told Closer Weekly she witnessed their arguments when cameras stopped.

“They were fighting all the time,” said the 67-year-old. “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.”

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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz during happier times.  (AP)

Despite the deteriorating relationship, Ball admitted breaking up with Arnaz wasn’t an easy choice. According to the magazine, she once described that her darkest moment was “when I got divorced and disappointed millions of people by doing so.”

Lucie was 9 years old and her brother Desi was 7 years old when their famous parents split.

And the former couple moved on quickly. Ball remarried to standup comedian Gary Morton just a year later in 1961. The union lasted until her death in 1989 at age 77.

Arnaz also found love again in 1963 with Edith Hirsch. That marriage lasted until Hirsch died in 1985 at age 67 from cancer. Arnaz died a year later in 1986 at age 69, also from cancer.

Still, friends of the pair insisted they never stopped loving each other.

“After [Ball] died, [Gary] said to me, ‘I guess she’s happy now; she’s with Desi,” said Paula Stewart, a pal of Morton’s, to Closer Weekly.

This hasn’t been the first time Lucie has spoken out about her parents’ rocky romance.

Back in 2011, she told the Television Academy it was difficult for her as a child to accept the fact her life wouldn’t be the same after the divorce.

“Part of me probably totally understood why,” she said about the breakup. “Because we had heard the arguments and that wasn’t fun either. But it was hard. It was very hard. And I didn’t want my dad out of the house. He was out of the house enough.

"I didn’t want him to go any further away. And then when my mother wanted to remarry, I mean, that was a knife in the heart. You’re kidding, right? It’s only been a year. Not even. So it was a rough period for all of us.”

Despite the tumultuous adjustment, Lucie insisted Morton was a good match for her mother, who was eager to find happiness again.

“He made her laugh and didn’t embarrass her in any way,” she said. “He didn’t drink too much. He 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… My mother and my father stayed good friends after the divorce. It took a few years to calm down, but they stayed friends 'till the bitter end. And that was good for the kids.

Lucille Ball found love again after Desi Arnaz.  (AP)

“He [Gary] was actually a tremendous supporter of my dad. He always spoke very highly of my dad. He gave him credit when he was talking to the audience doing the warm-ups. He would always say wonderful things about Desi… He didn’t have any of those hang-ups of the husband coming in might have about the ex-husband. My father, can’t say he felt the same way about Gary. He would always make jokes about Gary… But they really were friends.”

Lucie also had fond memories of her stepmother, a woman she described as one of her best friends.

“Beautiful redhead,” she said of Hirsch. “Gorgeous, voluptuous, showgirl-looking type lady. But not a showgirl. Just a regular broad. Just a regular dame… Best thing that ever happened to him [Desi]. Because she was a joy. An absolute joy. Great laugh. She didn’t know how to cook anything when she married him, but he’s such a great cook that he taught her and she became a fabulous cook.

"She taught me how to drive, she went bowling with us, she took us to the fair. She knew exactly how to handle my dad. She was amazing… I really miss her.”

Hirsch also received the stamp of approval from Ball herself.

“Yes they were friendly,” said Lucie. “They played cards together!”

The marriage between Arnaz and Ball was reportedly plagued with problems. Country Living reported friends of the actress claimed Ball had suffered several miscarriages before they conceived Lucie.

They separated for a period of time in 1944 after Ball filed for divorce, allegedly because of Arnaz’s womanizing and excess drinking. However, they reconciled and chose to work together in "I Love Lucy."

Bob Weiskopf, one of the couple’s go-to writers, claimed Ball feared Arnaz would cheat while hitting the road with his bandmates and felt the marriage would have a better chance of lasting if he stayed home.

But the success of “I Love Lucy” also contributed to Arnaz's downfall. In his memoir, Arnaz revealed that the pressures of running a successful production company in Hollywood and being compared to his superstar wife caused him to drink. By 1960, Ball could no longer tolerate Arnaz’s drinking and infidelities.

The show and marriage ended, but friends of the duo have long insisted they remained so close, it was easy to forget they were divorced.

Arnaz’s last words to Ball were reportedly, “I love you too, honey. Good luck with your show.”