“I Love Lucy” Dark Secrets: The Scene Ricky Refused to Do, the Star Who Backstabbed Lucy, and the SCANDALOUS Affair That Rocked The Show

I don’t know if you’re a fan of the show “I Love Lucy,” but I am. It’s a classic and was way ahead of its time in so many ways. 

And while I’ve heard rumors of some of the “juicy” stuff that went on behind the scenes, I’ve never heard THIS stuff. 

This is some very hot gossip - and if you’re a fan of the show or just a causal observer, I have a feeling these stories will likely interest you a lot. 

OK! Magazine reported that on screen, Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel were the closest of pals. But behind the scenes, the beloved sitcom hid dark secrets, feuds, resentments, affairs and flaring tempers! While Ricky Ricardo and kooky wife Lucy were the stars of the hit sitcom, neighbors Fred and Ethel also stole the hearts of viewers.

Fred and Ethel were a huge source of angst on the set. The actor who played Fred, William Frawley was a known drunkard and a very cranky guy to boot, he and the actress who played Ethel, Vivian Vance, did NOT get along. They absolutely hated one another. 

But Frawley almost didn’t get hired. 

The piece goes on to say that Desi, no stranger to the bottle himself, hired Frawley — but warned the actor that if he missed a single day of work for being hungover, he would hang him out to dry. Frawley toed the line, but he had another issue. He and screen spouse Vance couldn’t stand each other! She said, “No one will believe I’m married to that old coot.”

But — oops — Frawley, who was 21 years her senior and just as grouchy as his character, overheard her ranting, and from then on any goodwill between the couple vanished. Frawley referred to Vance as “that sack of doorknobs” or just “that b****.”

When Frawley passed away on March 3, 1966, Vance was out eating with her husband, and reportedly shouted to the other diners, “Champagne for everybody!”


Desi and Lucy had a fiery relationship, but on set, Lucy was the only one who was allowed to poke fun at his accent. Everyone loved Desi so much, they decided it was “too cruel” for anyone else to tease him. And there was one scene Desi himself refused to do. He was a firm believer in the “American Dream” because his family had fled to Miami from Cuba when he was 17 years old with only the clothes on their backs. 

They lived in a warehouse with other refugees. As a result, he refused to do a scene in the original script of the episode "Lucy Tells the Truth,” where Ricky cheats the system by fudging numbers on his income tax return. He did not want his character to be associated with that kind of behavior. Desi also had his “women problems.” Part of the reason Ball fought so hard to get him as her on-screen husband was so she could watch him.

Apparently, he liked hookers and had a wandering eye. 

At one point, Lucy almost died on set. The OK! piece goes on to say that in Lucy’s Italian Movie, Lucy stomps around in a vat of grapes to make wine with local Italian women. While filming the unscripted scene, Lucy began to fight with one of the ladies, played by Italian actress Teresa Tirelli D’Amico, who didn’t speak English. When the interpreter explained the scene to her something got lost in translation because Teresa didn’t know it was meant to be a fake fight.

Teresa ended up actually getting angry and holding Lucille’s head under the grape mush and nearly drowned her! Lucy’s pregnancy was another problem. Although the stars were ecstatic about having a second child (Lucie, their first, was born six months before the show’s premiere), a visibly pregnant woman had never been shown on TV before, so many predicted the end of the series. Since it would be impossible to hide it, the network decided to write her pregnancy into the show. They couldn’t use the word “pregnant” so they had to use “expecting.”

Who can forget that episode: 

And the scandalous affair that rocked the show involved Lucy, but it wasn’t with a man — it was reportedly with Ethel! 

OK! Magazine went on to say that Lucy had dozens of loyal friends like Jack Benny, Carol Burnett and Bob Hope. In fact, she and Vivian Vance were as close as sisters — and even allegedly conducted an affair after Lucy had had enough of Desi’s cheating! “We adored each other’s company. Then I began hearing that Lucille and I were too close,” Vivian wrote about their friendship in her explosive, un- published autobiography. “My first husband disapproved of my closeness with Lucille. ‘People are talking about you two,’ he’d say. ‘You ought to be careful about the hugging and kissing you do on the show.’”

But the two stayed friends until Vivian’s death from cancer in 1979. Lucy visited her during the last days of her life, and witnesses say she left the house weeping buckets. Desi and Lucy divorced and married others, but two days before his December 2, 1986, death from lung cancer at 69, he called Lucy and said, “I love you.” Lucille died on April 25, 1989.

But, not everyone loved Lucy, as a matter of fact more than a few guest stars came on the show and then backstabbed Lucy afterward. 

Richard Burton said, “She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humor…I loathe her.”


But regardless of what celebs thought of her, the fans loved and adored her.

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