Russell Armstrong's apparent suicide Monday evening has us wondering: Was his upcoming divorce from reality star Taylor Armstrong partially to blame?
Russell's lawyer Ronald Richards told TMZ that Russell was "extremely bummed out about the divorce with Taylor," but that his financial woes may also have been a factor. The investment banker and venture capitalist filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2005 and was recently sued for $1.5 million by one of his former clients.
Taylor, who stars in the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," filed for divorce last month after five years of marriage. The Armstrongs' ongoing marital problems were a focal point on the first season of the show, and their marriage counseling sessions were to be featured on the upcoming season, which is scheduled to premier September 5. Bravo TV has not yet indicated how it will handle the footage in light of Russell's death.
Following the divorce filing, Taylor accused her estranged spouse of physical and verbal abuse, which created a media frenzy given her advocacy for domestic abuse victims. Russell responded to the allegations in People 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," he said in late July 2011. "This show has literally pushed us to the limit."
Russell's ex-wife Barbara Frederickson, with whom he has a 13-year-old son, blames Taylor for his death.
“I don’t care for her at all. I think she’s the reason for this,” she told RadarOnline. "I think she drove him into financial stress and it just ruined him.”
Russell has two other children--a five-year-old daughter, Kennedy, with Taylor, and an 11-year-old son with former fiancee Milette Fields.
Taylor's manager's office indicated that a statement by Taylor was being prepared. According to RadarOnline, she is 'hysterical' after learning about the death Monday night. She has reportedly not yet told their daughter, Kennedy.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.