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JessiLu

Desi Jr.: Adult survivor of abuse?

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Just came across this book on Amazon - “Wednesday’s Children: Adult Survivors of Abuse” by Suzanne Somers, featuring Desi Jr.:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Wednesdays-Children-Adult-Survivors-Abuse/dp/0515111325

Product description says:

“Adult survivors of abuse--including Traci Lords, Gary Crosby, Patti Davis, Angie Dickinson, and Desi Arnaz, Jr.--share their experiences of pain and recovery from physical, emotional, and sexual battering.”

I know Desi dealt with drug abuse, but judging from the description, it doesn’t sound like the book addresses that kind of abuse. Seems more like the kind committed against you.

Anyone come across this book before or have an idea is what it may discuss with regard to Desi? 

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I think I have head of this book before but know nothing about it. 

My hunch would be drug abuse but the phrasing of the book makes it seem like something else. Which I have never heard anything about and am not inclined to believe without the man himself saying so. My debunking nature has me intrigued. Emotional because of drugs, maybe??

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I think this is an amazing find. And how brave and honest of him to be so forthcoming.  I'm sure we've all, as some of the most ardent Lucy fans around, have often wondered what it would have been like to have grown up as/with/like Lucie and Desi, Jr., at least I have.

It's no longer something I'd wish for. 

We sure haven't heard much from Jr. since Amy died.  Sure hope he's doing okay. :(

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I've read articles and interviews over the years from Jr. but nothing this revealing and nothing this revealing about this parents and the divorce. We knew Desi had a temper but what he describes is really bad. Obviously a lot of that was do to alcohol.

Two things that are troublesome to me is first, that the kids basically had no outlet to express their feelings. I know Lucy talks in her book about sensing the kids were upset and has said they heard and saw too much but I took that as, well that commonly happens in divorce. But to be scared to seek help in your sibling because your afraid that if you express sadness it's questioned. I wonder how much this went on after the divorce and the remarriage. Was the Parent Trap the only outlet they thought they had?  Did they talk to any other family members? 

Second is that I sort of always thought of Lucy as the more violent one when her temper got going. She admitted to the car window smashing as a reaction to a fight in the early part of their marriage and in that 1950 radio interview she is questioned about her temper and admitted to throwing things. But Jr. says that she wasn't violent it was his dad that was. And that things got physical. To me that could be 2 things. Either physical in that a lot of things were thrown, broke, etc... In the divorce proceedings the busted pipe incident was mentioned to demonstrate the temper and that was a full out violent physical reaction from Desi. Or that he actually got physical in the hitting, slapping, shoving, etc.. domestic violence sense. I never thought there was any of that going on. But who knows what someone is capable of with alcohol. There are reports of Desi drunk getting physical with other men but never women. Wasn't there a story in his book back in 39 where his dance partner in the show had a physically abusive husband and Desi stepped in? But knowing what is wrong and being under the heavy influence of alcohol is another thing. It's an odd sort of thing to say "physical" an then not explain it, because the mind goes there. Maybe Jr. kept it vague on purpose.

 

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On 9/17/2019 at 10:02 PM, Luvsbway said:

I've read articles and interviews over the years from Jr. but nothing this revealing and nothing this revealing about this parents and the divorce. We knew Desi had a temper but what he describes is really bad. Obviously a lot of that was do to alcohol.

Two things that are troublesome to me is first, that the kids basically had no outlet to express their feelings. I know Lucy talks in her book about sensing the kids were upset and has said they heard and saw too much but I took that as, well that commonly happens in divorce. But to be scared to seek help in your sibling because your afraid that if you express sadness it's questioned. I wonder how much this went on after the divorce and the remarriage. Was the Parent Trap the only outlet they thought they had?  Did they talk to any other family members? 

Second is that I sort of always thought of Lucy as the more violent one when her temper got going. She admitted to the car window smashing as a reaction to a fight in the early part of their marriage and in that 1950 radio interview she is questioned about her temper and admitted to throwing things. But Jr. says that she wasn't violent it was his dad that was. And that things got physical. To me that could be 2 things. Either physical in that a lot of things were thrown, broke, etc... In the divorce proceedings the busted pipe incident was mentioned to demonstrate the temper and that was a full out violent physical reaction from Desi. Or that he actually got physical in the hitting, slapping, shoving, etc.. domestic violence sense. I never thought there was any of that going on. But who knows what someone is capable of with alcohol. There are reports of Desi drunk getting physical with other men but never women. Wasn't there a story in his book back in 39 where his dance partner in the show had a physically abusive husband and Desi stepped in? But knowing what is wrong and being under the heavy influence of alcohol is another thing. It's an odd sort of thing to say "physical" an then not explain it, because the mind goes there. Maybe Jr. kept it vague on purpose.

 

Thanks so much for tracking that excerpt down. And your above commentary pretty much tracks with what I was thinking. A few additional thoughts/reactions:

- I didn't realize that Lucie and Desi, Jr. were so close. So I really enjoyed learning about that.

- I also assumed that Lucy was the more violent one. Harriet's supposed story about Lucy hitting Desi over the head, knocking him out cold, and believing he was dead, also comes to mind. I can't recall if there was any act of violence from Desi that prompted that. (I should point out that the story is totally hearsay and probably shouldn't have been reported on. But I note it because it is another story out there about violence within the marriage.)

I believe I read somewhere that Lucy and Desi's fights would sometimes get physical. But if it got that bad, wouldn't we have heard more about Lucy coming to the set with physical signs? Given her job, it would be hard to hide.  

You noted that he'd get physically violent with men but not with women. In my opinion, the "me too" moment that Paula Stewart shared in her book about her first encounter with Desi is pretty darn close. It wasn't anger-induced violence, but lust-induced (and alcohol-fueled). And it was something that shocked me a bit. I previously would've found it hard to believe that he behaved like that with strange women, because we hadn't heard any similar reports. So, with regard to Desi and violence toward Lucy or the kids, it makes me think anything's possible. 

One additional thought. Maybe Desi, Jr.'s commentary was vague about the type of violence (i.e. violence against objects vs. violence against human beings) because it was an editorial decision. Maybe the editors were trying to sensationalize it and make it fit better with the "adult survivors of abuse" theme.

Final thought: will Lucie and/or Desi, Jr. please write a book already? So many unanswered questions in my mind. They both clearly loved their father, so things couldn't have been THAT bad. But who really knows except them. 

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This is unsettling. 

Maybe Lucy did have her moments of physical outbursts, but Desi Jr. just never saw any firsthand. 

It's heartbreaking what alcohol, stress and pressure can do to a person, let alone a marriage. 

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The hitting Desi with a fry pan story comes from Lucy’s book, so she admits to it, but the story seems so far fetched I bet this is exaggerating what really happened.  Another story of her being violent is when they had a fight early in the marriage and she smashed all the windows out of his car.

You make a good point about physical abuse and that it would have showed. There is that one weird hitting incident during a dinner at home in the late 50s but Herb K. tells that one and I don’t believe half the crap that he says.

The Paula incident in the car I look at differently. Alcohol obviously plays a role in these things. But I feel at that time, physical abuse was looked at more seriously then kissing and groping a woman. The car incident really bothered me when I read it and it still does but I still can’t connect his behavior then to also being able to hit a woman. Again I turn to back to what he wrote in his book that he did confront a man about physical abuse of a woman. I don’t think he was going to rape her, but how he was on her was scary and how hard Paula had to fight him off. And that Lucy took one look at Paula after and knew. So obviously this was not something new. Lucy knew what Desi was capable of when drunk with another woman. He was sloppy drunk then, not in a rage.

Lucie has said that she was going to write her book but I haven’t heard more about it after her PS move.

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