Was the marriage of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball really as strained as the TV movie made it out to be? Friends and colleagues say it was far stormier.

The observations by people who knew the actors appeared in the Feb. 18 issue of People magazine.They said the couple's relationship was torn by alcoholism, infidelities and bitter arguments, but Arnaz and Ball loved each other, even after their divorce in 1960.

Sunday night's CBS movie "Lucy and Desi: Before the Laughter" offered some contrast between the happy-go-lucky Ricardos of "I Love Lucy" and the real-life couple. People who knew them say the contrast was far greater.