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Taylor Armstrong

In the wake of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, several of the castmembers of Real Housewives of New York City spoke to PEOPLE offering their sympathy and support to Taylor Armstrong and defending Bravo against any allegations that reality TV may have been involved in Russell’s decision to take his own life. Since the casting, apparently, hasn’t been “officially” finalized yet – I guess these ladies are doing some sucking up!

Taking a break from Pinot-ing, Ramona Singer, offered her perspective: “I think it is very tragic. But I don’t think that the reality show is to blame for his unfortunate death. I think he had problems. And it’s sad when someone has so many problems, they feel the only way they can eliminate their pain is by taking their life.”

Krazy Kelly Bensimon, also offered her support to the network paying her bills, declaring: “I would never blame it on the show.” Just like she didn’t “blame” the show for forcing her to go on Scary Island and be subjected to “systematic bullying”? Anyways, in a shocking turn, Ms. Bensimon went on to give an insightful statement about what Russell’s reasons: “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors. And no one can judge. It’s no one’s job to do that. A lot of people speculate.”

Also extending statements of support and empathy, Sonja Morgan relayed: “My heart goes out to her [Taylor] and I’m here for her. But I never intrude,” Sonja explained. “She knows I’m here, but sometimes being helpful is just staying out of someone’s business.”

Alex McCord, on the other hand, took the classy (am I allowed to use the dread “C” word to describe her?) approach – declining to comment at all, stating: “I don’t even feel comfortable talking about that publicly.”

And noticeably absent from the roster of RHoNYC castmembers speaking about the events is the Jill Zarin! Could it be… that Jill, who is rumored to be hiding out vacationing in Italy with husband, Bawby has been … dropped from the lineup?! Likely not, given that Andy Cohen is still vacationing happily instead of entering the Witness Protection Program!

Which brings me to my next bit of news, unfortunately for all us former fans, The NY Post is now reporting that Bravo is feeling skittish about involving any new housewives in the franchise – despite some attempts to recast in the hopes of including more “downtown types.” As you recall, with the exception of last season’s newbie Cindy Bore-shop, there have been no offical rumors speculating about who Bravo was considering replacing, however a source reveals: “They looked at over 30 women, and narrowed it to three [new cast members].”

But after the unexpected tragedy with Russell Armstrong, the network became nervous about shaking things up; and especially concerned about informing castmembers they were out. “The last thing they need right now are more surprises,” the source explains. “The first one to get axed is going to write a book, and these girls know the secrets of production. The show’s still working on some level, even if Bravo is tired of the story lines.”

A rep from Bravo confirms the last statement, explaining: “Production was pushed, as we are finalizing some details for the new season. The cast will be notified once shooting is about to commence.”

Soon to be fired castmember Cindy also echoed that sentiment, telling the HollywoodLife blog that Bravo will be making the casting decision this week. “Obviously nobody’s got it going down right now, but soon — probably another week everybody will know,” said Cindy late last week.

A Bravo insider reveals the network has to send a letter notifying the cast members that their options have been picked up. The women then have the choice to accept the offer. “After the girls accept, that’s when Bravo would announce season five,” the insider says. “The girls will be notified right before filming begins.”

And there you have it. I guess, Bravo already knows what to expect from the current crazy … Too bad they can’t trust that the fans are all really tired of the storylines and the ladies, as well. Perhaps if the ratings take a nosedive that will get Cohen, et al to finally wake up! Or we could always start a Twitition…

Do you think Bravo will recast any of the ladies except Cindy? Are you surprised by the network’s reaction? Will you be watching if the cast (and the subsequent storylines) remain the same?

According to a recent report, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong has inked a book deal which will include personal photos of the injuries she sustained during her alleged abuse from Russell Armstrong.

RadarOnline reports the book was intended to be about her alleged physical abuse, but Taylor, who is desperate for money decided to include photos of her injuries.

“Taylor’s acting like she’s not trying to bank off Russell’s suicide, but by including photos of her injuries after he allegedly beat her, that’s exactly what she’ll be doing,” an insider told Radar. “It’s no secret that Taylor’s been strapped for cash since Russell died, and since she hasn’t received the advance on her book yet, a few of the Housewives have been helping her out financially.”

The source adds that Taylor is hoping to have the book out by November, in time for the holidays. “Not only is Taylor going to write about her own personal experiences, but she wants to spotlight other celebrities who have been involved in domestic abuse situations.”

However, we are not so certain whether this book deal is an attempt by Taylor to capitalize off Russell’s suicide as we reported last week that Taylor actually tweeted about the book deal days before Russell’s passing. While including the pictures of the alleged abuse might be a different story, this book deal was in the works before the suicide.

In other Taylor news, Radar is also reporting today that during filming for the RHOBH, Taylor got so drunk at one point that she was almost hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. And it was all caught on tape.

“Taylor was so upset about the state of her then marriage that she got very, very intoxicated,” an insider revealed “This wasn’t normal behavior at all for her. She was so drunk that she probably should have gone to the hospital. She is so tiny, and hadn’t eaten a lot that day, which only made the situation worse. Taylor felt that she didn’t need medical attention though and refused to go to the hospital.”

And finally, the latest issue of Life & Style magazine is reporting that Taylor is too devastated to eat. The mag reports that following Russell’s passing on Aug. 15, Taylor has all but forgotten about food citing the fact that she had to be carried out of the Aug. 24 funeral service because she was too weak to stand.

“Her clothes were hanging off her,” notes an onlooker. “She’s really emaciated. Her whole face was sunken in.”

TELL US – IF TAYLOR WAS INDEED ABUSED BY RUSSELL, IS IT HER RIGHT TO INCLUDE THE ABUSE PHOTOS IN THE BOOK? OR SHOULD SHE NOT?

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?

Last night’s Season Premier of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills did not disappoint! Oh, these ladies – you know what they say: “More money, more problems!” Last night’s episode filled us in on what the ladies have been up to since last season and apparently not much has changed: Adrienne and Paul still barely tolerate each other, Lisa and Ken and Giggy, are still Lisa and Ken and Giggy. Kyle and Kim are still on the rocks and well, Camille she’s still arrogant and oblivious! Gotta love her! Before the the bickering starts, Bravo does a solid and gives a touching segment about Russell Armstrong and the housewives reacting to his passing.

The episode opens on Aug 29,2011, shortly after Russell’s untimely death and all seriousness aside: we meet Adrienne’s new face! Adrienne is looking 10 years younger and basically frozen in time. The cast sits down at Adrienne’s, to discuss Russell’s suicide. Kyle brings up how financial pressure in Beverly Hills puts so much strain on people. Lisa describes that she always felt an emotional disconnect with Russell – and that perhaps getting too much information about Russell from Taylor made Lisa shy away from him. Interesting… Kim points out that the cast focused so much on Taylor, because of their friendship, and not on how Russell was doing. All of the ladies and their husbands express guilt over not being more aware of Russell’s emotional state. Kyle is hopeful that Taylor will not feel responsible for Russell’s death given that she left the marriage shortly before he took his own life. It was heart wrenching to see the ladies and their husbands speak so openly about the tragedy.

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Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 2 Cast

Weeks after the tragic suicide of Russell Armstrong, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will premiere tonight as scheduled.

This morning, some of the cast members — Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump alongside executive producer Douglas Ross -- visited the Today Show to promote the new season. It was a pretty sobering interview as of course, the topic of Russell was brought up.

When asked how Taylor Armstrong and her 5-year-old daughter Kennedy were coping in light of the tragedy, Adrienne stated she had spoken with Taylor at the wake, adding that “as is to be expected, she was very beside herself, obviously going through such a tragic … and I think her concern is her little girl now.”

The executive producer Douglas then confirmed the reports that Bravo had edited the new season following Russell’s death. “We, along with the network, took a hard look at the show and we decided to do some adjustments where appropriate in light of the circumstances. Our goal has always been to make an honest and accurate story about the ladies and what goes on in their life. We want to be and always are respectful and responsible, and in this case, trying to be very appropriate.”

Russell will not be featured in the first couple of episodes and likely the entire season though scenes with Taylor discussing her marital issues will remain intact. “It is important to know that Taylor’s story is told throughout the season,” he added.

Kyle also defended the show, echoing Bethenny Frankel’s earlier comments which is that Russell and other reality stars sign up to do the shows. “He also signed up for this season one, and came back for season two,” said Kyle. “When we started this show they cast six strong women and they didn’t really know anything about our stories. … We certainly didn’t know the troubles that he had.”

It’s likely that in light of the editing/Bravo working hard to remove scenes with Russell, newbies Brandi Glanville and Dana Wilkey, will probably end up having more of a presence on the show.

And finally, Taylor Armstrong stepped out for the first time without a disguise just days ago. Taylor, 40, was photographed running errands in Beverly Hills on Aug. 31. She was pictured without her wedding ring on. Those photos are below.

Below is a preview clip from tonight’s premiere!

TELL US – STILL EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW SEASON? THOUGHTS ON THE TODAY SHOW INTERVIEW & TONIGHT’S PREMIERE?

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According to a new report by RadarOnline, Taylor Armstrong is “struggling” financially following the tragic suicide of her estranged husband Russell Armstrong.

Sources reveal the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is worried about her future while struggling to make ends meet. “Taylor is desperately trying to figure out how she is going to live and support her daughter,” a source tells RadarOnline. “She is struggling to make money right now.”

The source adds, “She had plans to write a book before Russell committed suicide, but now she doesn’t know what she is going to do.”

We can confirm that Taylor was indeed planning to write a book. In fact, we were planning to post that story the same day Russell’s suicide made headlines. After a fan tweeted to her that they would love to read her biography on August 13, Taylor tweeted back: “Writing my story w a self help book right now! RT.” She hasn’t updated her twitter page since August 15.

As it’s been widely reported, the Armstrongs were having financial difficulties despite their portrayal on the Bravo hit show as being wealthy. “Taylor is scrambling to find a way to earn a living, but she isn’t sure how she’s going to make end meet,” the source added. “Taylor’s salary from the Bravo reality show was not as lucrative as they wanted people to think. Everything is currently on hold.”

Meanwhile, the National Enquirer is reporting this week that Taylor might have had a fling with another housewife. That housewife in question is none other that RHOC extra Fernanda Rocha. The Enquirer states that just days before Russell’s passing, Taylor and Fernanda were “dirty dancing and kissing passionately at a Newport Beach fashion show.”

Taylor’s rep however denies the story to the Rumor Fix blog, calling it “ridiculous.”

RadarOnline is also reporting that Russell might have had a life insurance policy after all, but the beneficiary isn’t Taylor but rather his first son Aiden Armstrong from his first marriage to Barbara Fredrickson.

“Aiden’s mom, is trying to locate the documentation about Russell’s life insurance policy. Barbara believes that there was a policy that named her son as the sole beneficiary at the time of Russell’s suicide,” reveals a source. And despite the fact that Russell’s death was a suicide, the insurance would still be valid as long as it was taken out two years before the date of the suicide, and the premiums were paid and up to date.

And finally, days after her only daughter Pandora Vanderpump tied the knot, Lisa Vanderpump tweeted some more pics from the wedding! Those are below.

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According to a new report, Barbara Walters will likely get the first interview with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong.

Since the tragic suicide of her estranged husband Russell Armstrong, Taylor, 40, has managed to stay out of the spotlight while mourning her loss. A source close to her however indicates she’s being sought out by the media for the first interview.

The source tells RadarOnline that while Taylor is more than willing to sit down and tell-all, she’s only willing to do that when the time is right, and more importantly, she wants to do the interview with someone she can trust.

“Taylor would likely feel the most comfortable with Barbara Walters,” the source says. “Taylor expects to be asked the tough questions, and will answer them… The interview will most likely happen in the next month or so, and not sooner. Taylor needs a bit more time before she is ready to talk about the suicide.”

UsWeekly reported days ago that Taylor’s rep was shopping her first interview around for $100,000. But to my knowledge Barbara Walters doesn’t do paid interviews so it will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Meanwhile, Bravo announced today that the second season of the RHOBH will premiere on Sep. 5 as scheduled. In a statement released to the press, the network states a quick special featuring interviews with some of the BH housewives will air right before the season premiere episode.

“Given that these episodes were filmed months ago, the producers of the show taped a brief interview this week with several of the cast members to introduce the premiere. Re-editing of the episodes is still underway,” Frances Berwick, the President of Bravo said in a statement before adding that the network plans to air several anti-suicide PSAs throughout the show.

The statement continues, “Bravo has partnered with the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The network will air various PSA’s during the The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. We will also provide additional information and resources on Bravotv.com, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Our thoughts continue to be with the Armstrong family during this difficult time.”

And finally, RadarOnline is reporting this morning that Taylor is considering going to the FBI after a business associate of Russell’s, Alan Schram, also committed suicide 24 hours after Russell’s body was discovered.

Taylor is reportedly puzzled and wants to talk to the FBI to determine if there was a criminal motivation for the suicides. TMZ reported days ago that Russell and Alan were both members of an exclusive club called Tiger 21 — a group of investors who critiqued each other’s financial portfolios. The two guys also became friends.

“Taylor is leaning towards turning over some information that might be of interest to the FBI, which could shed some light as to why both men killed themselves,” reveals a source close to Taylor. “Taylor’s instincts are absolutely telling her that something much more was going on with these two men, than anyone knows about.”

The source adds, “Russell was a very secretive person. Taylor was unaware that he had stopped taking his anti-depressant medications in the two weeks prior to his suicide, even though he swore to her he was taking them.”

Taylor is now reportedly sorting through Russell’s things and paperwork, and putting aside items that she thinks are out of the norm to possibly turn them over to the FBI.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST?

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.

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