When you stack up all the negativity into one big pile, they equal Russell Armstrong’s suicide yesterday. What’s on the pile? Mountains of debt, allegations of verbal and physical abuse, an impending divorce, a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit, (possibly) a badly bruised ego, and most important of all, the destructive backwash of a reality TV show.
In taking a look at the big picture, were these sizeable problems enough to drive Russell Armstrong, 47, to hang himself over at a friend’s house, no less. I was skeptical, so I did my research to see what I could come up with. Disclosure: I’ve never seen the Bravo reality show, nor have I even heard of these people (they’re not exactly stars) until yesterday, when I read a piece on CNN about the apparent suicide.
The best biographical data of both Russell and Taylor Armstrong’s (burgeoning star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) lives can be found in a Los Angeles Times article (posted at 9:15 PM, August 16, 2011), Did ‘Real Housewives’ play a role in Russell Armstrong’s death? (by Amy Kaufman and Yvonne Villarreal).
Taking a gut shot at just the financial problems (alone) Russell was having, is a shocking enough issue to wonder what’s been going through the minds of these crazy Beverly Hills’ folk? I read about the $60, 000 party for their daughter, which is most absurd, in light of the fact that (at one time) Russell had been in as much as $12 million of debt (this goes back to the tech bust of the late 1990s – apparently, no lesson was learned from this disaster for Russell).
The financial aspects, a perception verses reality duality, where you are actually way in the hole, but you are still spending like there’s no tomorrow, is enough unto itself to undue an individual. But you add to this an accelerate of a reality TV program, that flaunts wasteful luxury as if it’s a virtue, then you’re asking for trouble, and this is just what you get, a man is dead.
Ratings were quite good for the first season of ‘Beverly Hills;’ the last episode brought in 2.76 million viewers. One has to emphasize, it was Taylor who was the big star, not Russell. Russell didn’t really want to be on the show (and I suspect he resented his wife getting all the attention). Moreover, the show cast his image in a negative light, making him seem cold and business-like.
The high ratings are achieved only by highlighting dramas and blatant crevices in the marriage. If they were getting on splendidly ratings would tank. But was Taylor playing to a tee this edgy plus factor only to further her own career, and to leave Russell in the dusty shadows of debt and depression? Some chat to this effect is rounding the squawky circles of gossip.
What happens to a person who is already on the edge and their dirty laundry is hung out to dry on a public clothes’ line of millions of HD television sets? Could Russell Armstrong’s sagging career go forward, could it survive season 2 of ‘Beverly Hills,’ with an ensuing divorce on the table? No wonder he was so depressed. Just owing the IRS over a million dollars, most people will lay low, yet these ‘rich and famous freaks’ throw a $60,000 party instead.