On TV, Lucille Ball had it all! She was the fun-loving, hysterical actress who fans couldn’t bear to hate, but behind the scenes, the Hollywood icon had her own issues to deal with. At age 75, the I Love Lucy star signed on to play Lucille Barker once more, but this time she was going to be a widow and grandmother and the show was going to be called, Life With Lucy.

“The I Love Lucy legacy allowed Life With Lucy to happen, but it was a terrible burden,” Thomas Watson, her former publicist, exclusively recalled to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “The show was written by the same people that worked on the original I Love Lucy. They were still writing for that Lucy, instead of a Golden Girls kind of character or a grandma.”

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Even though Lucille tried to be optimistic, she couldn’t hide from the negative reviews her show had received after it finally made its debut on TV. “They were so bloody,” Ann Dusenberry, who played Lucy’s daughter on Life With Lucy, told Closer. “So bad and disrespectful. I was hurt for her. They showed no regard that she was an icon.”

Apparently, the show was so bad that it was pulled off the air after its eighth episode aired. Even though the series was supposed to run for 22 episodes, ABC decided to pull the plug early. “It was so sad and disappointing,” Thomas said, and Lucy’s friend Michael Stern couldn’t help but notice how upset his pal was.

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“After an hour, I walked out with her,” Michael once said. “She started bawling.” But that didn’t stop Lucy’s career. She was still being offered many roles well into the last three years of her life, but during that time, the only thing Lucy cared about was her family.

“Life is no fun without someone to share it with,” the mom of two has said. And with her husband, Gary Morton, by her side, Lucy felt completely at ease with the world. “Every time Gary walked in, it was like he was coming in from a honeymoon with her,” Michael has said. “That house had a lot of love.”

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