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Russell Armstrong Earned No Money For 'Housewives' Role

Russell Armstrong Suicide Lawsuit

First Posted: 08/18/11 05:39 PM ET Updated: 10/18/11 06:12 AM ET

Following the tragic suicide of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong's husband, Russell Armstrong, many are wondering if the cost of letting your life play out on a reality show is just too much for some to handle -- especially if the show isn't paying you a dime.

“The only people that get paid to be on the show [are] the Housewives,” a member of Bravo's "Housewives" franchise tells me. “Some of the husbands signed the same contracts as their wives without the financial compensation and others like Jill Zarin's husband, Bobby, sign a day release every time they appear in front of the camera. Most of the husbands are happy to be on the show to support their wives' dreams.”

Following Armstrong's death, his mother, John Ann Hotchkiss told HLN's "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell" that her son was deeply concerned about the way he was going to be portrayed on the forthcoming season of the reality show. The type of contract Russell had with Bravo will help determine if any potential lawsuit from his mother could have any clout in court.

"No one has become extremely wealthy from the money they get from the show," an insider tells me. "Last season, the ladies on the New York franchise earned $265,000 for the entire season, while the men earned nothing -- except Alex’s husband [Simon McCord] who was paid separately for a web-based show he did.”

There's no doubt that, when it comes to the aftermath of such an untimely and tragic event, things are going to get nasty.

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