Beverly Hills Housewive Taylor Armstrong was absent for the reality television show debut, the first following Russell Armstrong’s suicide. The girls commiserated, with their heavily botoxed upper lips quivering ever so slightly with grief.
But the overall attitude was the show must go on. In that regard, Bravo opened the episode with a simple message: “Life goes on. It has to.”
Still unanswered, however, is how much the very public display on the show of the Armstrong’s marital and financial troubles played in Russell’s decision to take his own life.
He openly complained to his mother that the show would skewer him this season, as Taylor made claims that he was abusive to her in their marriage.
Russell also complained that the show drove the couple to financial ruin in an effort to keep up appearances for the television audience.
The show debuted with a segment filmed to address Russell’s death. He was found hanged after his wife filed for divorce.
Taylor, however, was noticeably absent. But that didn’t stop the others from speculating about the death.
Kyle Richards said that she and the cast all felt “some guilt about not seeing this coming.”
Adrienne Maloof and Lisa Vanderpump raised the Armstrong’s domestic troubles again.
“I had too much information to want to connect with him,” Lisa said.
Their breakup had been expected to be a key part of the plot for season No. 2, which prompted Bravo to tape the new opening.
Adrienne, who hosted the taping at her Beverly Hills mansion, said Russell’s death had been “an emotional rollercoaster.”
“There’s plenty of men that, you know, their wives leave them and they don’t kill themselves,” said Kyle. “You cannot feel responsible for that, nobody can. It was his choice.”
“I think we were all told the same thing and we were only reacting to what we’ve been told,” Camille said. “And what we we’ve been doing – I think we were all doing it – was we were just trying to protect our friend.”
To bridge the gap between the newly taped segment and the show, which was shot before Russell killed himself, the screen cut to black with the message noting that the scenes were shot before the suicide.
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