Photo Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong has finally come out to talk about the Aug. 15 suicide of her husband Russell Armstrong. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, which aired last night, Taylor opens up about the way she helped her daughter cope with Russell's death and reveals the extent of the abuse she dealt with at the hands of her 47-year-old husband.
"As I was laying in the street screaming, I realized that my little girl (5-year-old daughter Kennedy) was there. And I had to pull it together to get her out of there," Taylor, 40, recalls of the night she learned about Russell's death. "I just told her that daddy got sick and he died."
So that Kennedy, who had a close relationship with Russell, wouldn't feel like she'd be without him forever, Taylor told her daughter that "we could pick a star in the sky and it could be daddy, and that she could talk to him every night."
Along with the interview, ET revealed some shocking photos of Armstrong lying in a hospital bed with a brutally beaten black eye. The reality TV star says that Russell punched her in the right eye so hard that she was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles and had to have plastic surgery to repair it.
In a statement to ABCNews.com, Russell's lawyer, Ronald Richard, denies this. He says that Taylor did not file a police or medical report indicating she was the victim of domestic violence, and argues that there isn't any proof that the injury seen in the photos -- which Armstrong sold to ET -- was the result of abuse inflicted by Russell.
During the interview, Armstrong broke down into tears when discussing the way Russell -- who had previously admitted to heated verbal and physical altercations with his wife -- hurt and threatened her.
"He grabbed me by the neck and shoved me up against the wall and he said, 'If you ever make my children a pizza without a vegetable again, I'll kill you.'" she says. "He would grab me by one side of the hair on my head and bang the other side of my head against the car. He would say to me, 'I'm afraid I'm going to kill you one day.'"
It is still unclear how much of this the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will depict. The show premiered on Bravo as planned on Sept. 5, and has been re-edited in response to Russell's death -- though it hasn't completely shied away from depicting the Armstrongs' marital discord. Just how much of their crumbling relationship makes it on the air remains to be seen.