The estranged husband of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong has been found dead in his Los Angeles home, apparently from suicide.
Russell Armstrong, 47, was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m. Monday in a home on Mulholland Drive, said Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter. The death was caused by hanging and a suicide note hasn't been found, he said.
Bravo, home of the "Real Housewives" reality franchise, issued a statement Tuesday saying, "All of us at Bravo are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Our sympathy and thoughts are with the Armstrong family at this difficult time."
Russell Armstrong was an investment banker and venture capitalist. His relationship with his wife was a big part of the drama on the first season of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," which peeks into the privileged lives of six women living in the posh neighborhood. Armstrong appeared on many episodes, accompanying wife Taylor Armstrong to various events. She often discussed the couple's relationship troubles with the other women on the show, which premiered last fall.
The second season is set to begin Sept. 5. In the opening episode, which was filmed months ago, Taylor Armstrong tells the other housewives that she and her husband are going to therapy. Later, she bursts into tears at a dinner party when one of the other women's husbands tells her that therapy is a sign of weakness. Taylor Armstrong is also shown shopping for lingerie to help spice up her marriage.
Bravo provided an advance copy of the premiere episode to the press last week.
Court records show Taylor Armstrong filed for divorce on July 15 in Los Angeles. Russell Armstrong had not yet responded to her petition.
The couple was also sued last month for $1.5 million by a company that claims the pair diverted money from investors to promote their lavish lifestyle, including redecorating their mansion. The complaint states Russell Armstrong represented himself to be a successful venture capitalist who claimed he had procured $2 billion for various entities.
His publicist, Rebekah Iliff, said he's the founding managing director of Crescent Financial Partners. She also confirmed the Armstrongs were in the midst of a divorce.
The couple's relationship troubles were set to be part of the show's second season, said fellow housewives Kyle Richards and Camille Grammer, whose own divorce from ex-husband Kelsey Grammer also played out on the first season of show.
Richards said in an interview last month that second-season viewers could expect to see "Taylor's situation, just seeing that unravel and it's a very emotional subject; a very difficult subject."
Richards and Grammer said they weren't surprised that Taylor Armstrong filed for divorce.
"I think we all saw in season one that they weren't exactly a match made in heaven," Richards said.
Taylor Armstrong often complained to her cast mates that she felt neglected by her husband. The two have a young daughter.
Besides Taylor Armstrong, Richards and Grammer, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" stars Adrienne Maloof, Kim Richards and Lisa Vanderpump. Two other women join the show in its second season: Dana Wilkey and Brandi Glanville, who is dealing with the aftermath of her own high-profile divorce. Her ex-husband, actor Eddie Cibrian, recently married singer Leann Rimes after an apparent affair documented in tabloids and online.
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" is the newest in the "Real Housewives" franchise, which follows affluent women in cities such as Atlanta, Miami and New York City.
Jill Zarin, who appears on the New York City version, posted condolences on Twitter Tuesday.
"Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Russell Armstrong. My love and prayers to (at)TaylorArmstrong and her daughter," Zarin wrote.
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