Live

Watch CBSN Live

Dead "Real Housewives" husband's troubled life

Speculation continues about the pressures that apparently drove a reality TV star to suicide.

As CBS News correspondent Betty Nguyen reports, the victim, a husband in the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," was under the strain of a failing marriage, magnified by the fact that the whole world was watching.

Taylor and Russell Armstrong were anything but the picture of marital bliss, as portrayed in "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

"Real Housewives," Bravo react to Taylor Armstrong's husband's suicide

After just one season, the couple split, with Taylor making accusations of physical abuse.

On Monday evening, Russell, an investment banker reportedly deeply in debt, was found hanged to death at home in Los Angeles, an apparent suicide.

Mike Fleeman, People.com's West Coast Editor, says, "We asked him about the allegations of physical abuse. He said, 'Look, things got out of hand. Yeah, maybe I did some of this stuff. But this was at a very bad point and didn't reflect who I was.' He knew he had a problem ... and ultimately, it might have been one of the demons that contributed to his death."

In a recent interview, Russell said living his life in front of cameras was at least partly to blame for his marriage falling apart. "The pressure of being in the TV spotlight was pretty overwhelming," Rumorflix.com quoted him as saying. "It took our manageable problems and made them worse."

David Swanson, Ph.D., told CBS News, "This is the first generation that wants to be famous strictly for the sake of being famous ... and when you get in front of the cameras and you start to find the stresses involved and the pressures involved with shooting this type of show, people who don't have a strong sense of who they are, they start to unravel, and they start to fall apart."

The Armstrongs were reportedly facing a $1.5 million lawsuit claiming they diverted money from investors to bankroll the appearance of a lavish lifestyle for the cameras.

Russell's lawyer, Ronald Richards, observed, "He was still paying for this fictitious persona to be on a reality show. It was always running at a deficit more than the federal government."

The Armstrongs are the parents of a five-year-old girl. Taylor's publicist, Jane Owen Public Relations, issued a statement saying Taylor "is devastated by the tragic events that have unfolded."

Richards says, "I think Russell honestly didn't think this decision through very well, because he had a lot to live for and was a good guy, and this type of BS is not worth killing yourself over."

There's no word yet from the Bravo Network on how, or if the show will go on.

"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" was set to debut next month, and the Armstrongs' marriage was expected to be a central focus.

View CBS News In