In the wake of Russell Armstrong’s sad passing, several media outlets are gathering more information about the events that transpired that could possibly explain what he was thinking when he took his own life. E Online has compiled a timeline charting some of Russell’s legal woes, substance abuse issues, and abuse allegations. The entire situation is truly tragic.
- October 10, 1995 – Russell’s legal woes begin in the mid 1990’s. On October 10, 1995, he is charged with felony tax evasion and is sentenced to five years probation and 150 hours of community service. Two years later, in December of 1997, he finds himself in trouble with the law again. After being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery after a fight with first wife Barbara, Russell must attend mandatory therapy and bi-weekly AA meetings while awaiting trial.
- March of 1998 – After Barbara shows up at Russell’s house, the couple gets into another altercation in March of 1998. Russell pleads no contest to a charge of misdemeanor battery and is sentenced to three days in jail. He receives three years probation and must complete 50 hours of community service. Additionally, Russell must spend at least a year being counseled for anger management, attend 50 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and donate $1000 to a local women’s shelter.
- August of 2004 – Barbara seeks a temporary restraining order for the couple’s then six-year-old son Aiden and files for divorce, citing, “His physical abuse of me was one of the major reasons that we separated only months after Aiden was born.” Included in the TRO filing was a sworn statement from Claudia Haro, Russell’s ex-girlfriend, who alleged that she saw Russell slap his son. She also claimed to be the victim of Russell’s abuse. In a sworn declaration from Russell, he claimed that Child Services had investigated the allegations and could not find any evidence of “inappropriate conduct.”
- October 16, 2005 – Russell files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and marries Taylor Armstrong a mere eleven days later. On March 22 of the following year, his bankruptcy is converted to Chapter 11.
- July 15, 2011 – just two months after her rep issued a statement denying break-up rumors, Taylor announces that she has filed for divorce. She believes the split will be in the best interest of the couple’s five-year-old daughter Kennedy. Her petition requests primary physical custody and joint legal custody of Kennedy, as well as restoration of her maiden name. Less than two weeks later, on July 29, a $1.5 million dollar lawsuit is filed against the couple, claiming Russell’s company misappropriated funds, which Taylor helped him to spend.
Russell commits suicide on August 15, the day Bravo sends out the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills press release. The release cites Taylor’s “loveless marriage” as her main story line. The following day, Russell’s first wife Barbara speaks out, expressing her disdain for Taylor and basically blaming her for Russell’s actions. She tells an online media source, “I don’t care for her at all. I think she’s the reason for this.”
Meanwhile, the 911 tape of the call that was made moments after Russell’s body was discovered has been released today by TMZ. The call was made by Russell’s friend though Taylor was present during the call. “My friend just hanged himself, do you understand? Come over here and stop asking questions,” stated Russell’s pal.
In the tape, the caller can be heard comforting Taylor. “Come here Taylor, it’s alright. It’s alright, it’s alright.” A sobbing Taylor then says, “I need my psychiatrist.” Even more heartbreaking is the fact that Taylor & Russell’s 5-year old daughter Kennedy was also at the house. At one point the caller says, “Taylor, have your daughter go away please.”
And finally, Los Angeles Times is reporting that Bravo plans to address Russell’s suicide in the form of a special. The network reportedly shot the special on Monday and it included several RHOBH cast members — Lisa Vanderpump, Camille Grammer, Kyle and Kim Richards, and Adrienne Maloof. Taylor apparently was not included in the filming.
There’s no word yet on when Bravo plans to air the special. The report also adds that the new season is still set to premiere next Monday on Sep. 5.
The entire situation is tragic, and my heart goes out to Russell’s children, family, friends and colleagues.