“Real Housewives” Russell Armstrong’s Suicide - Reality TV To Blame?
That may be the case. However, it is perfectly clear that Russell Armstrong was struggling with many difficulties in his personal and professional life.
On season one of the Bravo series, viewers were first introduced to Russell and Taylor’s stressed marriage. Taylor wanted Russell to have more fun at social gatherings and the couple lacked communication including when Russell bought a puppy against Taylor’s previous wishes. Recently, Taylor told People Magazine that, “being on the show opened up my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t living in a healthy marriage.”
With the season two trailer out and the first episode set to premiere in a matter of weeks, Taylor’s main story line will be dealing with the end of her marriage and final decision to file for divorce. According to Entertainment Weekly, the first episode of season two, already given to national media outlets, shows Taylor crying and telling her cast member Kyle Richards, “I’m trying to keep my family together” and announcing that she is beginning couples therapy.
In late July, Taylor went public with the real reasons why she left the marriage. She claimed to People Magazine that Russell called her names which later escalated to physical violence. Russell denied part of the accusations but did tell the magazine, “Did I push her? Yes, maybe things happened in the heat of the moment, but it was during a time in our lives that was not characteristic of who we were.”
Besides a very public divorce, Russell also had financial troubles. According to TMZ, Russell filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2005 claiming he had less than $50,000 in assets and debt somewhere between $1 and $10 million. At the time of his death, many of his credit cards weren’t worked and he was being sued for $1.5 million for misusing funds and breach of contact according to his lawyer.
Would things have been different if the couple never signed up for the reality series? Nobody will ever know. However, for a seemingly quiet, reserved guy (based on what viewers saw in season one), maybe reality TV and being in the public eye wasn’t the best thing for Russell.
As season two begins next month, Russell’s suicide will have a great impact on how viewers will watch the tragic end of a marriage. Taylor may soon be second guessing every decision she’s made, especially joining the series in the first place. Nonetheless, as Harvey Levin pointed out, after this tragic event, “there is going to be some soul searching about reality shows and what it does to the cast.” Drama may be a ratings winner, but it also could have its consequences.
Reach writer Mike Vulpo here