The network went about confirming the news in a rather FYI fashion as it simply showed Russell in a preview clip for next week’s episode instead of putting out a press release to announce its decision.
In the clip (posted below), which will air on Monday night, Russell can be seen having dinner with his wife Taylor Armstrong and her friend Kyle Richards, as he openly talks about suing co-star Lisa Vanderpump for talking about him to a magazine.
“So did you read the big story today?” asks Russell as he passes a magazine article across the dinner table. “They link it to Lisa. We’ll just serve them with a lawsuit,” he continues as Kyle looks on in surprise. “This is very awkward,” Kyle later states in a separate on-camera interview. “Am I next?” she asks.
Russell’s first appearance on the show this season will be on the 9th episode. The Bravo network had made certain to edit him out of the first eight episodes of the season despite the fact that the early season previews played up the Armstrongs’ marital issues as a major season storyline. Bravo however made drastic edits to the show following Russell’s suicide in August. He had blamed the show for ruining his life and marriage.
So far, there hasn’t been any major backlash against Bravo over its decision to air Russell’s scenes. Kyle and Adrienne Maloof also spoke out on Bravo’s decision.
“I think it will be uncomfortable, a little bit,” says Kyle to Wetpaint. “But it was part of the story that was going on. This was shot six months before any of that happened. But it will probably be difficult [to watch].”
Adrienne added that seeing Russell on the show will definitely reopen some old wounds. “I think to see Russell in upcoming episodes will be a little tough. Overall, the suicide has been so horrific on all of us,” says Adrienne. “But I think it puts a face behind what has happened.”
My Thoughts – I say this is a good decision on Bravo’s part. The reason? Quite frankly Russell agreed to do the show not once, but twice by choosing to return for a second season despite publicly stating he did not like the “edit” he received in season 1. Though it is unknown whether or not he was contractually obligated to return to the show, it is highly unlikely as the housewives are usually the ones who sign contracts with Bravo, and not the husbands. Case in point – Jim Bellino’s decision to stop filming during the 6th season of the Real Housewives of OC. Plus I do not believe Bravo is to blame for Russell’s suicide in any way, shape, or form. And neither is Taylor. In fact, Russell’s lawyer has publicly stated on more than one occasion that Russell took his own life due to mounting financial difficulties. At the end of the day, Russell’s suicide, as unfortunate as it is, is reality. Reality that should not be altered on a reality show due to this unfortunate tragedy.
Yes he is no longer here to defend himself against any negative portrayal by Bravo but once again, he signed up to do the show and was not forced by Bravo. And the below comment made by Russell in one of his last interviews before his suicide leads me to believe he knew what he was doing, and had his own motives and reasons for doing RHOBH.
Russell told The Fix this summer about appearing on the Bravo hit show: “At first I was a little annoyed about all the bullsh*t, 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.”
Abuse Issue – This also makes way for Bravo to touch on the whole domestic abuse issue. While many fans of the show doubt Taylor’s claims of physical abuse, I for one do not. For starters, two of Russell’s exes (an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend) have stated in court documents, way before Russell even married Taylor, that he also physically abused them. PLUS Russell himself admitted to getting physical with his wife, telling PEOPLE in July that he “pushed” her. The last time I checked, pushing is physical abuse. Now I absolutely do get the skepticism, ahem… when you take Taylor’s sketchy past into consideration, but no matter how sketchy Taylor is, it doesn’t mean she was immune to being physically abused by her husband. I believe she was abused and I believe the abuse photos are real. I also believe that it is important for Bravo to tell this story if it can at least save the life of one battered woman.
Below is a preview clip featuring Russell on the upcoming episode via Toofab.com –
TELL US – DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH BRAVO’S DECISION TO AIR RUSSELL’S SCENES? DO YOU BELIEVE TAYLOR WAS ABUSED? SHOULD BRAVO TELL THE ABUSE STORY?