Real Housewives Grapples With Suicide in Premiere

Reality shows must go on

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 6, 2011 2:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – They're down but not out. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was already back on the air last night just three weeks after Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband, Russell, committed suicide. The wives (not including Taylor) have a heart-to-heart about the tragedy right at the start of the season premiere. They were so busy supporting Taylor during her marriage breakup that "we didn't really see Russell," says Kim Richards. The "things we were told about their marriage was heartbreaking," adds Camille Grammer, who has had her own ugly breakup. "I think what we were doing was just protecting our friend."

Russell Armstrong's attorney blames the program for stresses in his client's life, including his $1.5 million debt. "These couples join these shows, and then they keep trying to outdo each other, and they end up spending all their money trying to sustain a lifestyle that's unrealistic and wasn't there prior to the show," he told ABC News. But you know what? "Life goes on—it has to," notes Kyle Richards. And, apparently, so do reality shows.

Taylor Armstrong, poses with her husband, Russell, in happier days.
Taylor Armstrong, poses with her husband, Russell, in happier days.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini,File)
The cast of the 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' arrive for a program party in Los Angeles last month just days before the tragic suicide of husband Russell Taylor.
The cast of the 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' arrive for a program party in Los Angeles last month just days before the tragic suicide of husband Russell Taylor.   (Getty Images)
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