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Shana Hughes

Days after his tragic passing, one of the last interviews Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Russell Armstrong gave has now been released.

In the interview with TheFix.com, we get a better picture of what Russell’s mindset might have been weeks before he took his own life. According to The Fix, a blog about addiction and recovery, Russell, 47, had longtime interest in addiction and recovery, brought on by his father’s alcoholism and his sister’s crystal meth addiction.

Russell, a venture capitalist, told The Fix he and Taylor Armstrong had recently invested in a number of rehabs, and were seeking to build a “rehab empire.” When talking about Bravo, he seemed conflicted — on one hand calling them “bastards” while also stating the “publicity” from the show has been good for his businesses. Excerpts from Russell’s interview below -

Russell On Bravo -

“The Russell you see on T.V. has nothing to do with my real personality. He’s just a stock character created by Bravo’s evil overlords. That’s not me you see up there. It’s just a character I play on TV.”

• Everything you see on that show is bullshit. Those Bravo bastards take every little argument out of context and magnify it for the cameras. They think that tension drives ratings, and of course they’re right.”

• “At first I was a little annoyed about all the bullshit, but then I realized it’s not so bad to be a celebrity. The thing is, all the publicity has been great for my business.”

And over the weekend, Russell’s sister Laurie Kelsoe, a 45-year-old mother of two, broke her silence to defend her brother against mounting accusations of violence and a secret gay past. In the shocking interview, Laurie completely slams Taylor, calling her a “sticky-fingered social climber,” as well as “a liar and a thief.” Excerpts from Laurie’s interview below -

Laurie On Her Sister-in-law Taylor -

• Taylor, an Oklahoma cheerleader whose original name was Shana Hughes, later changed her name to Taylor Ford, and claimed to be a member of the Ford family. “But we had a friend who knew all the Fords and they didn’t know anything about her,” said Laurie. “We knew she was a phony from the beginning, but Russell wouldn’t hear of it.”

• “Taylor is a liar and a thief,” Laurie continued, “Her lifetime ambition was to become a Housewife, and she got what she wanted. You know, she was pregnant when they got married, and I don’t think that was an accident. She wanted a man, she wanted tons of money and she wanted to be in the limelight. She’s just a gold-digger who reinvented herself and dragged my brother down in the process.”

• Laurie claims that Russell had reluctantly agreed to appear on the show to satisfy his wife’s social ambitions. “He spent all his savings to maintain Taylor’s illusion that they were wealthier than they were,” she said, “He did anything to make sure she was happy, but nothing was ever enough.”

• Horrified by the media’s allegations about him, she’s eager to set the record straight. “My brother is not gay. He’s not into S &M. His biggest mistake was falling in love with Taylor, which is a form of masochism I guess.”

• On the $65,000 party that Taylor threw for her five-year old Kennedy: “It was a complete embarrassment to everyone in the family. It was a revolting use of money that could have gone to pay for the college of Russell’s two other children.”

Laurie On Bravo -

• Laurie also alleges that Bravo execs, unhappy with early footage of the new season, told Taylor she would be fired if she didn’t amp up the drama. “Well, they got what they wanted,” said Laurie. “Russell only did this to please his wife. Bravo never told him, ‘We are going to torment you, destroy your marriage, empty your life and rip you apart, now will you please sign on the dotted line?’”

• The Armstrong family is now reportedly planning to sue Bravo for more than $50 million for its alleged culpability in Russell’s death. “I hold Bravo absolutely responsible for Russell’s death,” says Laurie. “When the show first started, he thought these people were his friends, but they ended up stabbing him in the back.”

Laurie went on to deny the rumors that came out last week alleging Russell feared a tell-all book would reveal his secrets. “He is not a homosexual. He’s not a wife beater. He’s not a crook. He was a decent and loving guy,” she said. “All these news stories mention that he went into bankruptcy but they don’t mention that he paid back every dime he ever owed. They’re just slandering my brother.” Laurie also admits that Russell suffered from depression.

And finally, following allegations by Taylor that Russell was physically abusive to her, Entertainment Tonight stated Monday night that it had viewed “graphic” images of Taylor following one of the alleged abuse incidents.

“I’ve seen shocking photos of Taylor with a deeply bruised right eye and a terrible trauma that stretched from here (the mouth) to here (the eye socket),” host Chris Jacobs said. “We are not ready to show them to you just yet, but I can tell you that it looks as though she was hit in the eye with tremendous force.” As of the moment, it is unclear whether or not ET plans to show the images.

Photo credit: WENN

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON RUSSELL’S COMMENTS ABOUT BRAVO AND LAURIE’S COMMENTS ABOUT TAYLOR? SHOULD ET RELEASE TAYLOR’S IMAGES?

There have been rumblings and whispers about Taylor Armstrong since she began appearing on Bravo’s the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but those whispers have only gotten louder in recent weeks.

In fact, a recent post by TheDirty website alleges Taylor and her husband Russell Armstrong might be scammers. According to an email sent in by a reader, Taylor, who’s birth name is Shana Hughes, changed her name to Taylor Ford before she married Russell and even pretended to be from the Ford Motor Company family, wanting others to believe she came from money.

The reader states she and her husband met Taylor and Russell back in 2004 and the four decided to do dinner at the Prime 112 restaurant in South Beach. Russell was allegedly trying to get the couple to invest in one of his businesses and brought along Taylor, whom he claimed was from the Ford Motor family.

The reader adds that Taylor was aloof, rude and condescending during the dinner. She “seemed more like white-trash dressed in Gucci than a trust-fund person,” adds the reader.

And in another post on the RealFauxHousewives website, the same reader revealed Taylor got drunk that night and proceeded to have an inappropriate make-out session with Russell in the back of their Mercedes (the four drove together to South Beach.) It gets even better as the two then left to use the bathroom but never came back leaving the reader and her husband with a huge bill (mostly from all the drinks they ordered). The reader and her husband tried to call Russell repeatedly that night but he wouldn’t return their calls until the next day.

Meanwhile, the Starcasm website reports that Russell is a convicted felon. In 1995, the IRS charged him with evasion of assessment, and in 1997, he pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five years of probation plus community service.

Starcasm also reports that in 2001, Russell was sued by a woman who claimed he sold her $175,000 worth of bad stock. The two reached a settlement though the lady ended up taking Russell back to court after he failed to make payments. Russell was named in another securities fraud lawsuit in 2003.

TMZ reported last October that he filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2005, citing he had less than $50,000 in assets and debt between 1 and 10 million bucks. Russell was also involved in a “costly” palimony lawsuit filed by a former fianceé.  Russell has however managed to stay out of civil suits or governmental prosecution since 2003.

Meanwhile, a bonus clip released by Bravo only seems to further prove that Taylor is indeed a social climbing phony.

If you recall, Taylor mentioned several times on the show that Adrienne Maloof was the godmother of her daughter Kennedy. This left many viewers puzzled as Taylor and Adrienne did not appear to be close on the show, at all.

Well in the video clip below, Adrienne denies being Kennedy’s godmother when asked by Andy Cohen at the reunion show. Even more interesting is Adrienne’s, who has a hard time hiding her true feelings, reaction to the question as she appears visibly irritated.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE STORY, THE PREVIEW CLIP AND TONIGHT’S LOST FOOTAGE EPISODE?

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