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Russell Armstrong Suicide

Monday marked the premiere of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and if you’re anything like me, you may have been wondering if Taylor Armstrong was even able to watch it in light of the recent suicide of estranged husband Russell Armstrong.

Well for starters, the show premiered to high ratings for the Bravo network. While some were concerned over what impact Russell’s passing would have on the show, it appears there was no reason for that as over 2.2 million viewers tuned in for the season debut. That is a 42% increase from the season one premiere last year. Those numbers are even more impressive considering Monday was a holiday.

But back to Taylor as Radaronline is reporting that Bravo executives gave her an advance copy of the show which had been re-edited due to the recent events. She was able to watch it before it aired on Labor Day. An insider reveals, “Taylor watched the entire episode several days ago. She was very moved by the heartfelt comments that each of the Housewives made regarding Russell’s suicide. There were a lot of tears shed as she watched the episode.”

The source continues, “Taylor didn’t watch the season premiere with any of the Housewives. Kyle, Adrienne and Lisa are in New York City doing press for the show. However, Kyle did call Taylor to check-in with her. Kyle and Taylor are very close. Taylor was very emotional watching it, but she is very supportive of how Bravo is handling Russell’s suicide. Taylor believes that watching the show now will be cathartic and healing for her.” As for Kennedy, Taylor’s five-year-old daughter with Russell, the insider says, “[She] has started school, and doing well. Taylor is now trying to put her life back together.”

And while it may be healing for Taylor to watch the season, it will no doubt be hard. According to one source, Bravo plans to air footage of the couple’s marriage counseling, parts of which were filmed for the series. The insider reveals, “Bravo has made the decision to air their marriage counseling sessions. Taylor is supportive of the network airing the therapy sessions. Bravo will be looking at those sessions and doing any necessary edits if needed, given Russell’s suicide. Both Russell and Taylor were filmed individually during their sessions. Taylor’s will definitely be airing, although it’s likely that Russell’s individual sessions won’t be.” Both Taylor and Russell agreed to let the network document their sessions.

However, some reports say otherwise. A mouthpiece for the network commented, “The producers and Bravo are in the process of re-editing the entire series. As a result, any report regarding the content of upcoming episodes is mere speculation.” The couple was seeing Dr. Charles Sophy for help with their crumbling marriage. Before Russell’s suicide, the pair’s marital problems were set to be a big story line of the season. However, Bravo has since edited the season, so some speculate that the sessions will not be included. The premiere episode cut original footage of Taylor shopping for lingerie in an effort to spice up her love life with Russell. However, it aired the tense dinner party at Adrienne Maloof’s where Taylor felt attacked by Ken Vanderpump after revealing her and Russell’s decision to seek counseling.

While we are watching a show filmed pre-tragedy, those closest to Russell are still trying to cope with his decision to take his own life. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Russell’s family is speculating that his tragic death may not have been at his own hands. TMZ reports that the Coroner’s Office recently released Russell’s toxicology results, which revealed no alcohol or drugs where in his system when he died. Russell’s family is hiring a private investigator to look into the possibility of foul play. However, neither the Los Angeles coroner nor Taylor herself believe Russell was murdered.

And finally, Russell’s family continues to speak out against Taylor. The latest accusation comes from Russell’s mother who alleges Taylor charged over $90,000 to Russell’s credit card after filing for divorce.

“$90,000 was put on his credit card in June, not by him,” revealed John Ann Hotchkiss during an interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell on HLN Wednesday. “Taylor put $90,000 on there,” she said. “She put $90,000 on his credit card in June after she separated.” It doesn’t seem like this drama will be ending anytime soon.

Photo credit: WENN

SURPRISED BY THE GOOD RATINGS? SHOULD BRAVO AIR FOOTAGE OF THE COUPLE’S MARRIAGE COUNSELING SESSIONS? DO YOU BELIEVE THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST TAYLOR?

It looks like Real Housewives of New York didn’t start filming this weekend as earlier speculated. In fact, none of the ladies know yet whether they’ll even be returning for the new season. Has anyone checked on Jill Zarin? She has to be freaking out just a tad.

Sonja Morgan took time out of her star-studded schedule to speak to the New York Post before flitting off to a party for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. And wow…throwing Sonja in with the Kardumphries–there’s a show I’d watch! But, I digress. Sonja told the Post, “None of us should be unhappy where we are. It’s really up to Bravo and what they want to do.” She continues, “If it happens, it happens. But none of us should be unhappy because of the success we’ve already earned. If I’m not back next season, it’s not bad. We’re still all stars.” Um, okay.

Bravo hasn’t given an official reason for the delay, but a rep for the network provided a statement, saying, “Production for Real Housewives of New York was pushed as we are finalizing some details for the new season. The cast will be notified once shooting is about to commence.” One can assume that the network is still dealing with the aftermath of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, hopefully trying to realign the franchise with its original premise, which was free from most of the drama and ugliness we are currently glued to multiple times a week.

Also in the wake of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tragedy, new precautions are being taken with the reality stars’ contracts. Discussing reality show contracts in general, one source tells the Huffington Post, “I’m ashamed to admit I work on a show that once had in writing that contestants agreed we could humiliate them.” The source continues, “I have even seen contracts for dating shows that say if you contract a sexual disease on the show the producers were not responsible. What’s the amazing part is that the people that go on these shows are so desperate to be famous, and have no real talent, that they actually sign these deals.” Wow.

So what do these changes mean for Bravo specifically? It potentially means that Bravo will be more stringent in enforcing a psychological testing clause already present in its contracts with those involved in the Housewives franchise. One of Bravo’s New York Housewives reveals, “We all have in our contracts that Bravo can force us to take a [psychological] test. To my knowledge nobody did, but moving forward any new cast members will for sure. This isn’t to protect the talent but rather to protect Bravo for the next time something horrid happens.” I have to say it doesn’t sound like a horrible plan. In fact, I can think of a few current Housewives they may want to consider testing…

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE RETURNING TO THE NEW YORK CAST? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING? WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE TESTED FIRST?

 

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.

Russell Armstrong, estranged husband of Beverly Hills Real Housewife Taylor Armstrong, was honored yesterday at a memorial service at Forest Lawn in Burbank, California a week after his apparent suicide. Taylor reportedly gave the eulogy while wearing her wedding ring, telling the crowd, “People didn’t know the Russell, I knew.”

Taylor told the story of Russell’s proposal, and how he had one of his son’s present her the engagement ring so she knew she was accepted by his children. She also discussed the cross Russell always wore which was engraved with his children’s initials. He added Taylor’s initials to the cross as well, hoping she would help him keep his children close. “I will keep that promise,” Taylor said in her speech.

Neither Russell’s two sons from a previous relationship or Kennedy, his daughter with Taylor, were in attendance. Radaronline reports that Taylor thought her daughter would be too young to understand what was happening.

An insider reveals, “Taylor doesn’t think it’s in Kennedy’s best interests to go to the memorial. It’s very hard to grasp as a 5-year-old, and given the way in which Russell died, well, Taylor doesn’t want Kennedy to accidentally overhear someone talking about Russell’s suicide. Taylor is protecting Kennedy, period. This little girl has been through enough with her parent’s divorce, and now having to deal with her dad’s death.”

Russell’s family was absent from yesterday’s funeral, which was not filmed by Bravo. A second service is planned in his native Texas. Russell’s body was cremated, and his ashes were divided between Taylor and his parents.

While her daughter was absent, Taylor had the support of her fellow Beverly Hills cast mates. UsWeekly reports Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne Maloof-Nassif and husband Dr. Paul Nassif, Kyle and Kim Richards, as well as New York Housewife Ramona Singer. Even though some of her relationships with the ladies were rocky, she decided to invite all of them to the memorial service.

A source claims, “A lot of thought and consideration went into Taylor’s decision to invite the entire cast. In the end, Taylor didn’t want to exclude anyone, and even though she doesn’t get along with all of them, Taylor wanted them there. The girls have been very supportive to her throughout this entire tragedy. Taylor needs her friends around her more than ever.”

Photos are below of the RHOBH cast attending the funeral.

Meanwhile RadarOnline is now reporting today that Taylor is telling her close friends Bravo is not to blame for Russell’s death and that she wants the network to go ahead with its scheduled Sep. 5 premiere.

A source close to Taylor states that Taylor feels “Russell’s suicide wasn’t caused by the show or Bravo. Russell just simply cracked over ongoing legal and financial issues. The show bears no responsibility for his death, neither does the network.” The source continues, “In fact, Bravo has been extremely supportive of Taylor during this tragedy.”

And despite a report that stated Bravo had decided to postpone the premiere, the source states the network will likely go ahead with the scheduled premiere. “It looks like the show will indeed premiere on September 5. Editing is still being done on the show. Russell is either going to be edited down, or completely out of the show. However, Bravo and the show won’t be ignoring the Russell’s suicide. They simply can’t, to do so, would be disrespectful to the situation and what Taylor is going through. It will be addressed in a manner that is dignified and appropriate,” the source adds.

Photo credit: WENN

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST & TAYLOR’S REPORTED COMMENTS? SHOULD BRAVO GO AHEAD WITH THE PREMIERE? SHOULD RUSSELL’S SUICIDE BE ADDRESSED?

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE HOUSEWIVES AT THE FUNERAL -

Hours after news broke of her husband Russell Armstrong’s suicide, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong is now publicly responding to the tragic death.

Taylor released the following statement through her rep: “Taylor Armstrong is devastated by the tragic events that have unfolded. She requests privacy at this time so that she may comfort her young daughter. Her thoughts and prayers are also with Russell’s 11 and 13 year old sons.”

Sources tell RadarOnline Taylor has been “hysterical” since finding out about Russell’s suicide last night. The insider reveals Taylor “has been up all night. She is hysterical, and can barely speak. She has no idea why Russell would do this. She doesn’t know how she is going to be able to tell her daughter, Kennedy.” TMZ confirms Taylor has yet to break the news to her 5-year-old daughter Kennedy.

As for what might have led to Russell’s suicide, his attorney confirms it all had to do with his impending divorce as well as mounting financial and legal problems. Russell’s lawyer Ronald Richards states, “I feel bad because his credit cards weren’t working … He had tremendous financial problems.” Ronald adds that even if Russell has a will, he had no assets.

Meanwhile, Andy Cohen and other Housewives also reacted to the tragic news. Below are some of the tweets -

Andy Cohen – “I am so very sad about today’s news. My prayers and thoughts are with Taylor Armstrong and her family.”

Camille Grammer - “My sympathy and condolences go out to Taylor and Kennedy. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Adrienne Maloof – “”My heart goes out to Taylor Armstrong and Kennedy during this devastating time. You will be in my thoughts and in prayers.”

Caroline Manzo - “So sorry 2 hear about Russell Armstrong’s death. I hope @taylorarmstrong’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.”

Jacqueline Laurita – “When I hear REAL problems like what’s happened w/ @TaylorArmstrong’s family,it puts everything else that I feel r problems into perspective.”

Jill Zarin – “Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Russell Armstrong. My love and prayers to @TaylorArmstrong and her daughter.”

Ramona Singer - “My prayers and thoughts go out to Taylor Armstrong and her family.”

Countess Luann – “Such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Taylor and Kennedy and the Armstrong family.”

Gretchen Rossi – “No words can express how much my heart is breaking for my fellow housewife sister @taylorarmstrong and her daughter. Please keep her and her family in your prayers and thoughts today. RIP Russell Armstrong.”

Alexis Bellino - “We are praying so hard for the Armstrong family. We can’t imagine what they’re going through. Take a minute today to hug everyone you love.”

Photo credit: WENN.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST?

UPDATE: Russell’s lawyer Ronald tells PEOPLE that Russell showed no signs of depression. The lawyer however adds that Russell was a loving family man who spent every dwindling dollar he had to finance Taylor’s lifestyle. “He was a good networker. But as a couple, they lived way beyond their means,” added Ronald.

In today’s completely shocking and devastating news, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Russell Armstrong has died of an apparent suicide.

Russell, husband of Taylor Armstrong, was found hanging in his bedroom on Mulholland Drive. Sources tell TMZ the L.A. City Fire Department arrived at Russell’s home on Monday night and pronounced him dead at 8:16 PM.

Authorities are saying they did not find a suicide note. This tragedy comes less than a month after Taylor filed for divorce alleging physical and verbal abuse. After Taylor revealed her abuse allegations, it was discovered that other exes of Russell (an ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend) had also alleged physical abuse and had filed restraining orders against him in the past. Russell also had other legal issues, including bankruptcy and several lawsuits.

Russell and Taylor have a 5-year-old daughter – Kennedy. Russell is survived by other children as well. Russell was 47-years-old. We will bring you more news once it becomes available.

THOUGHTS?

UPDATE – Russell had been having a hard time dealing with his past issues becoming public as earlier this year, he had his attorney contact us about taking down a report we did about his past legal issues.

UPDATE #2 – RadarOnline is reporting Taylor has been “hysterical” since finding out about Russell’s suicide last night. Taylor “has been up all night. She is hysterical, and can barely speak. She has no idea why Russell would do this. She doesn’t know how she is going to be able to tell her daughter, Kennedy,” a source close to the situation reveals.

UPDATE #3 – Russell’s attorney tells TMZ Russell was at his wits end over his impending divorce from Taylor in addition to his mounting financial problems in the days leading to his death. Russell’s lawyer Ronald Richards states, “I feel bad because his credit cards weren’t working … He had tremendous financial problems.” Richard adds that even if Russell has a will, he doesn’t have any assets.

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