Russell Armstrong to mother before suicide: 'They're just going to crucify me this season'


Image Credit: Jason LaVeris/

UPDATED BELOW: Russell Armstrong was more than $1.5 million in debt at the time of his suicide Monday, according to his attorney, and his mother told Headline News that he was dreading the way he would be portrayed in the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “Before the new season even started, before he took his life, he said, ‘Mom, they’re just going to crucify me this season,'” John Ann Hotchkiss told HLN’s Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell. “He said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’ll never survive it.'”

Armstrong’s attorney Ronald Richards told ABC News that the show’s celebration of outrageous excess plunged Armstrong into debt “as a result of trying to keep up with expectations for the lavish lifestyle portrayed on the show.

“These couples join these shows, and then they keep trying to outdo each other and they end up spending all their money trying to sustain a lifestyle that’s unrealistic and wasn’t there prior to the show,” continued Richards. “The weekly social events, the dinners and all the BS, trying to pretend you have unlimited resources in Beverly Hills is tough. When every night is a potential sound bite or posting on a website, you end up getting addicted to it, you go out all the time.”

Bravo declined to comment on these remarks. The network currently has Housewives scheduled for a Sept. 5 premiere, but recent events have brought into question whether the network will still air the show as planned.

UPDATE: Bravo to re-edit ‘Housewives of Beverly Hills’ due to Russell Armstrong’s suicide

Read more:
Russell Armstrong commits suicide
Bravo pondering postponement of ‘Real Housewives’

Comments (338 total) Add your comment
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  • Jay

    It is really time for reality TV to stop sensationalizing abhorrent behavior.
    Jersey Shore, the “real” housewives, etc… are a disease to our society.

    The madness needs to stop!!

    • Curmudgeon10

      Anyone remember the old days when Bravo featured the fine arts?

      • David

        Been a while hasn’t it?

      • Monica

        It’s the same with A&E. Where are the Arts and Entertainment?

      • Rena

        I was going to say just that! I used to watch Bravo because it was independent of all the BS. Now it is just as mainstream as NBC, CBS and MTV with all of the “reality” shows. Maybe if more people on these shows committed suicide, they would take them off the air. Just a thought.

      • CrazyWorld

        Remember when MTV played Music? All reality shows are doing is showing the youth how you can spend lots of money without having to work hard…or just put everything on credit and pay back later…It is a black hole…

      • bevaneachy

        Curm, David and Monica, you all make fine points. I agree wholeheartedly! I was hoping reality TV would be a passing fad, but people seem to be addicted to this amoral mudslinging crapola.

      • JoyceK

        Yeah, I remember the fine arts. This channel, like most others, have succumbed to the brain dead – and instead of the Arts we get Tarts.

      • watchdog47

        The madness will stop when, and only when the people stop watching. If the ratings are up than the hollywood copycats grow the genre no matter how sleazy or damaging to participants and/or viewers.
        You don’t see Little House on the Prairie or 7th Heaven type shows anymore because the USA is going down the tube as a culture and as a country. The federal govt. has us in debt more than this poor guy was. There is no moral compass only expediency. Everything is OK even if it destroys you or others.
        We are reaping what we have sown and it is not pretty.

      • Look Deeper

        It’s like this on all the channels. Discovery, MSNBC, TLC and (of all places) The National Geographic Channel, all have prison, prison, and more prison shows. It’s like they’re trying to desensitize us and get us used to the fact that eventually we’re all going to be in prison.
        Get ready for the coming Police State. Scary!

      • Ken

        Stop watching TV!

      • Paul

        I find hope when I see posts espousing the same thoughts as my own. It’s a shame our society has taken the path it has.

      • kay

        TV now appeals to the lowest denominator. It used to be educational and interesting – a long time ago – but now? I too miss Bravo when it offered something decent and A&E – but now – I don’t watch the junk stuff anymore. And please tell me what a pawn shop has to do with history? Now that show is a lesson in telling folks star clear of taking anything of value to a pawn shop!

      • The Other Henry

        @curmudgeon – OMG, you’re so right. I thought of that about 6 months ago (since I’d compuhLETEly forgotten) and remarked to a friend that, back in the day, I’d thought BRAVO was kind of a cool moniker for a network that broadcast, you know, relatively highbrow entertainment. Egad. The depths to which they’ve fallen.

      • LL

        Thank you, Andy Cohen.

      • Linda

        tension, distance, distrust, misery, and death. You wanted reality, you got reality.

      • dee

        Those people will unfortunately have to grow a brain before they stop watching.

      • conchodeltorro

        I think Rena and Ken just summed it up nicely.

      • PN

        I remembered Bravo did as well as A&E and TLC with the low key, outside the box programming. But something changed when they got into the reality show business. I think they got so driven and awed by the Mark Burnett reality show hits and his high ratings on the broadcast networks that they had to jump on that trend. Wanted to copy some of his hit making formula Bravo started with Real Housewives of Orange County, that show became a hit and it escalated to these other cities versions. Sometimes I think they’re getting a little too riled up with these reality shows like the broadcast networks did in 2005. Some of their shows are the trashy, sleazy, backstabbling kind. I remember when History channel did travel documentary shows like Las Vegas–now they’re onto the reality show bandwagon. Sometimes reality shows don’t work for a cable network’s persona. Look closely at the before and after changes that these cable networks have done in the 4-5 years since they got involved with reality TV. They don’t look like they once did.

    • Which is Worse?

      They can also take off all of the CSI and Law & Order shows as well. Rape, murder, child molesters. Scripted shows are far more vile and sordid than anything on reality TV.

      • Jay

        You couldn’t be more wrong. Scripted shows are fictional.

        As in: “make believe”

        If somehow you think make believe is worse than gratifying the scumbags that do reality TV, I feel sorry for you.

        Buy the way, books have been telling fictional stories about crimes and murders for hundreds of years with no ill effects. Reality TV has only been around for about 10 years and its already contributed to the downturn of society. (And at least 1 suicide – see above article)

      • kerry


      • daddio

        Or you can just change the channel…

      • theo

        There’s nothing else to watch, it’s all trash and garbage, “un-reality” TV especially – a cheap way for networks to produce without having to pay for creativity. Trash. And now a guy’s dead because of it. I’m so sick of trash TV, garbage society, everything.

      • charlotte

        Are you kidding me? You are actually comparing real people’s lives to fiction. Reality TV sucks in a special way in that actual human beings get hurt, unlike all the examples you gave. I personally do not find the appeal of candid reality TV. It seems it only is about one-upmanship and who can be the most outrageous. Who cares about these people who are just trying to do anything to get attention? Who leave a wake of devastation in their place? Suicide is a complex issue that affects millions of Americans, and I really, really hope that focus can turn to what we as a society can do to counter-act it. I lost a good friend to suicide last year, and my heart goes out to this man’s family. If anyone actually cares about this issue, I urge you to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

      • Alvar the Fool

        Have the courage and do what I did…get rid of cable and your TV….there are a lot of better things to do outside the house….

      • Shine

        totally. i mean, how many different ways can someone be killed? murder, rape, and torture is considered entertainment, and people wonder why our country is the way it is? pahleeeeeeze.

        tv is trash.

        when i was young i always heard it called the
        a one-eyed devil.

        i’m now firmly in agreement. sold mine to someone who obviously likes trash.

      • sonja

        I agree, the only reality show I want to see is one where they are using these child molesters for targer practice!

    • PublicStrain

      Mtv’s reality show ‘I want a famous face’ was the worst of all of these shows imo, teaching young impressionable children that cosmetic surgery is just normal. to accept the body/face you have been given is normal, that show was so messed up

    • Kamehameha XIII

      How to stop the madness? Simple… don’t watch the stupid program. I’m not trying to say I’m “holier than thou…”, but personally, I don’t find those “Real Housewives…” programs the least bit entertaining. I believe I gave them about five minutes, or at least until the first commercial break, and I changed the channel and never went back. Where’s the entertainment value? Please tell me…

      • mirted

        Apparently, there are enough folks out there that are so unfulfilled and un-busy doing life that they find solace and fun in these type shows. Pity for them.
        I’d add the “gluttony’ shows like Man vs. Food to another sign of cultural decline.

    • Will

      Today it is clearly evident why our grandparents called televisions “idiot boxes”. We should rejoice in the fact that we have the power to change channels or turn the box off.

      • Nancy

        Here’s a test: imagine your Grandparents sitting watching with you. Would you or would they be embarrassed . . . then turn it off and find something better to do. Remember hobbies?

    • jc

      Here’s a novel concept…. SHUT OFF THE TV!

    • cYNTHIA

      I agree totally. We llive in abhorrent times with this excessive bad behavior and we flaunt it as if it’s a good thing.So sad it took someone killing themselves for people to see it for what it is.Ugly, vile doings and everyone sits around and watches and thinks this is the way to go.

      • BG

        Crime, particularly violent crime, is pretty much the lowest its been in 50 years.

    • jason

      TO Jay,. Just shut your TV off. you act like its the fault of the tv for “sensationalizing” things you dont like…..well if people didnt watch the show that wouldnt be on the air. dont watch it… its supply and demand. IF you watch it, you demand it, if you demand it they supply it. ITs a sign of the society that this stuff is on the air, dont blame the producers. Iv never watch jersey shore, real housewives of anywhere. Read a book. who cares about these people. you know why. because im not a person who puts value in those things.

      In my opinion life is much much more fulfiling when you are not sepending it in front of a Tv.

      • diamond girl

        But here’s the thing, the public didn’t say “we want to see trash and hoodrats fighting on our TV” and then the cable networks supplied it because of the demand. They jammed their networks full of this crap and then the public began watching because there was nothing on….there is a big difference. The public does have a part in this, don’t get me wrong, but it is the network’s who are ultimately responsible because they should create programming that is enriching, educational and entertaining. I think viewers do have the right to demand better programming than these trashy reality shows.

    • jeff

      Turn off the tv folks.
      You pay for it and then complain when its bad.
      Read a book, cook a meal, talk to a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while.
      Save the dough that is paying for this and put it towards something worthwhile.

    • bxjam85

      These shows are an expression of the lowly values of our society.

  • harry

    stop this show!

    • SCBR

      Seriously. How can we do this? I’m so tired of celebutants. These people are “famous” (perhaps infamous is a better word) for what??? People are getting such a skewed sense of “reality.” These people clearly lead really screwed up lives. We need to go back to basics…work hard, make some money, love your family, be happy.

      • wakeforce

        Why blame TV? It’s CAPITALISM that’s the real culprit here. If reality shows didn’t make millions for the tv execs they wouldn’t have the types of shows. If the participants weren’t paid handsomely, no one would want their lives on tv. If ads didn’t make you feel less worthy because you don’t have an IPhone, people wouldn’t be beating people over the heads to get theirs. Capitalism isn’t going away and neither is reality tv!

  • Jeff

    I don’t blame the reality shows–by this point in time, anyone who goes on one–especially with the Internet–knows that EVERY secret will be exposed and they will be bullied and laughed at mercilessly. It’s tragic that he killed himself, but Bravo didn’t “make him” go into debt–he had filed for bankruptcy back in 2005 I think when he was $48,000 in debt to his credit card. (His CREDIT CARD!) So he/they didn’t learn then–and it only got worse.

    • tf2345


    • me

      Many people aren’t able to cope and think that being on TV is the answer. And Bravo and others are MORE than happy to prey on these people, all in the holy pursuit of ratings. It used to be that we would want to help people in need, not put them on television and mock them.

      • Anno

        I agree with “me”. These shows exploit pathetic people. Viewers who watch trash like this are only encouraging the stupid behavior being carried off by people who are either desperate for fame or desperate for money. I don’t understand how people can watch this stuff and not become nauseated.

      • drpageiv

        I haven’t watched TV in a couple of years. I watched only FOX News for a couple of years before I sold the TV. I know about these shows from others, but I can’t relate. Why do they have an audience? This sounds like the nation is distracted by evil.

    • tony

      Look at our President over our head in debt, he spends like a drunkin sailor living the high life while the country sinks.. GREAT example!

      • Zzz

        And how many presidents before him spent “like a drunken sailor”??? (Check out Reagan’s record…)

      • RuRu

        I just love the way the Libs sit and watch and as soon as anyone criticizes this failure of a president, they come out and throw stones at someone else, These libs are PATHETIC

      • Dave

        All the presidents for the last 35 years have been complete and utter failures in terms of sound fiscal policy. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama all spend like there’s no tomorrow and should be vilified for their treacherous policies.

      • Oba

        Your talking billions to Trillions, and most Presidets (Reagan, Bush and Clinton) spent their ammounts in 8 years, not just 2 years. Obama has overspent all of his predecesors in just 2 years! But that’s okay, he’s got his $1,100,000 busses, his wife travels with all her friends to Spain and Africa, and all he does is golf and vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. Too bad he doesn’t have the courage of this broke reality star and do us all a favor.

      • Earl

        What does any of this have to do with our President?

      • Soros

        Obama is a total tool.

      • Jay

        @Dave: Clinton was pretty darn responsible economically.
        Think about it… when he left office there was an economic SURPLUSS!!!!!
        If you are too stupid to know what that means, it means that the gov’t was MAKING MONEY!!! Now, we are in a huge defecit. (LOSING MONEY DAY BY DAY)

      • TheDude

        @Jay: You’re 1/4 correct. Each year Clinton was in office, the overall national debt went up Clinton had a budget surplus. A true surplus would make the national debt go down, which it did not and has not since I’ve been alive.

        One of the only ways to make the deficit stop increasing is by freezing annual spending to what it was the previous year. At least that way, we’re only borrowing the interest. Basically all the government keeps doing is asking the credit card company for a rate increase and they keep maxing out the card. If you freeze spending levels for 2012, to the levels of 2011, at least for 2012, the only additional costs to the annual budget would be the interest payments on the current debt.

      • alex

        Jay, if Clinton ran at a surplus, why did the national debt increase each year of his presidency? With baseline budgeting a “cut” means spending less than proposed, not less than previous term

      • Sean in Ca

        Jay, Clinton’s “surplus” was primarily smoke and mirrors and a departure from traditional budget procedures. BTW, Obama has spent more than every other president COMBINED! (Combined means all together)

      • Karen

        @ Jay the government does not MAKE money they TAKE money, from you and me.

      • help us, lord

        Ike Eisenhower was the last Republican president to balance the budget. Regan accomplished many things, but his trickle down economics did a lot of damage and Bush destroyed our surplus by borrowing and not paying back, not to mention the astronomical cost of this war. President Obama added some to the debt, but he certainly didn’t cause it. @Sean in Ca- I don’t know where you got your information, but it’s just not true.

      • help us, lord


      • econruth

        The comment that the Obama administration has run up more debt than all other presidents is a complete and utter lie. Please do not repeat these lies, it doesn’t help anyone and just spreads hate. Fact check dot org can help you sort the truth from the lies, and that’s from both sides – Democrat and Republican.

      • TX Attorney

        Excuse me — looks like you are watching too much tv. The facts show: the deficit was run up before Obama came to office. Do you have any idea how much the wars cost? Do you think they were free!!! We are in debt because of two multi-trillion unfunded wars; Medicare Part D ( to pacify the pharmaceutical industry) and Bush tax cuts. So be you Dem or Rep — please don’t distort this because if you continue to believe in silly magical thinking, we will never get out of this mess. Oh — and please stop watching those stupid rich idiot shows. Like we don’t have enough real ones in Dallas. Trek through NorthPark Mall or Galleria if you want to see the real thing.

      • TM

        Thank you, TX attorney

    • geeegee

      he subscribed to shallow values and was a coward.

    • charlotte

      Do you actually think people deserve to die because he owed people money? Jesus.

  • Crazy

    He killed himself cause he is weak minded. Don’t blame the show! If he was trying to “keep up” with the lavish lifestyle, that means he is weak, if he is stupid enough to kill himself he is weak. He had a 5 yr old daughter, and all he taught her was to be weak and give up and only way to get out is to kill urself.

    • SH

      Or he suffers from mental illness.
      Unfortunately reality TV needs these kind of people to attract viewers.
      Obviously its not that hard to take someone with a mild form of mental illness and push them over the edge.
      Good for the rating.

    • Really

      Yes because there are forgiving understanding people in the world, like you, who would welcome him after he failed at his marriage, his finances, and who knows what else.

      • Beth

        What’s to forgive? So long as he pays his stupid bills and doesn’t thrust them upon the rest of us, who cares about his situation?

    • Verheek

      @Crazy – you are crazy and your empathy is lacking. Let’s kill you off because you are weak too. What on earth allows you to dismiss this guy because he was weak!? That’s even more reason to reign in these shows or whomever is targeting the vulnerable.

      • Beth

        You’re suggesting killing another. That is murder. Suicide is cowardly.

    • Jackie

      his wife spent 50 grand on a 4 yr old’s bday party. It was insane….what WILL she do now??

    • TM

      So much for compassion.

  • Well…

    Hmmm… blame the show or confront the lust for fame that got you there.

    • Dee

      Get Rid of all the nutty sluts and bring back the Jeffersons — KUDOS on getting rid of Kate she should take those kids and join the AlQUEIDA They are a wicked evil BUNCH>

      • AB

        Um… ok. Talk about nutty. Pot, meet kettle.

      • susan

        we’ve already got the Jefferson’s in the White House.

      • Saxon

        I’ll take the Jeffersons, who became successful through hard work and business ownership, in the White House any day over the Clampetts (aka Bush), who just got oil lucky and didn’t actually acheive anything on their own.

  • Todd in Edmonton

    When did personal responsibility cease to matter? Don’t spend money you don’t have and you won’t be in debt. What man in his 40s spends like crazy because he felt pressure from the tv show he was on? On what planet does that make any sense? He wasn’t a victim of anything other than his own poor choices, both financially and in picking that surgically deformed monstrosity of a wife.

    • me

      Perhaps a man that has psychological problems, ever hear of that? Unfortunately we are all not geniuses and perfect like yourself.

      • Beth

        Oh, please. EVERYBODY has “psychological problems” to the weak-minded sheeple! BAAA, it couldn’t be HIS fault, he was sick. BAAAAA! Personal responsibility? What’s that? BAAAAA! C’mon, people, it’s this very attitude that has us in the screwed-up mess we’re in today. TAKE SOME FREAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR A CHANGE! I know, it’ll hurt at first, but eventually you’ll be able to hold your head up and be included in the land of grown-up people.

      • Palin

        Beth talks about taking “personal responsibility” while she collects her disproportionate welfare (“tax return”) check. 50% of America pay for the other 50% to suckle at Uncle Sam’s tit. Beth is just one of the millions of leaches.

      • fletch

        Amen Beth! I am so sick of everybody trying to point a finger at someone else or blame society or their parents. Grow up and take responsibility for your actions.

      • Beth

        Either “Palin” and “Dave” are the same idiot, or leftist idiots can’t spell “leech.” I’ll tell you what I told Dave: School is your friend. I know big five-letter words are really, really scary to get right, but it IS do-able. And how is my call for people to be responsible for themselves indicative (big word — find a dictionary) of me receiving welfare? If I received it, I certainly wouldn’t be calling for personal responsibility now, would I? Idiot.

      • Beth

        Thanks, Fletch. Now to get the Dave/Palin folks to figure that one out. Oh wait, they are too busy navel-gazing to ever do anything for themselves. They’re losers in society, so much so that the very MENTION of personal responsibility brings out the nutjobs like Dave/Palin to spew and froth. I mean, did you ever? PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?? I’m sure that went the way of the 8-track, right?

      • TM

        God forbid we deal with mental illness when we can just pretend it’s a “weakness” that makes us feel superior.

      • TM

        @Beth — Taking responsibility includes admitting when you need help. And, no, not everyone has psychological problems. Wow, you’re a nasty piece of work.

    • chris gardner

      I couldn’t have said it better!

  • WifeBeatnPusCeater

    Now that he is out of the picture, can I put Taylor’s DSL lips to work?

  • WifeBeatnPusCeater

    Dear Russell, Sorry for your passing, but mind if I keep Taylor’s lips busy? Both sets of course.

  • NAM

    Time to play the blame game.

  • Mark Taylor

    ……..trying to care……..still trying…………nope, can’t do it.

    • LTC

      Mark not nice,

      How do I explain to people why I am laughing while reading an article about Suicide

    • anon

      you sound impotent

  • Harriet

    Cohen and team have blood on their hands. No if ands or buts.

    • Cinders

      How can they have blood on their hands? No one forced him to be on the show. He signed the waiver not once but twice. Other Househusbands have refused to be filmed (Simon- OC, Dina’ husband from Jersey). Seems like he had problems long before Bravo came along.

      • TM


  • Dee

    If a man blacked out my eyes he wouldn’t be able to hang himself after what I would do to him.

  • WifeBeatnPusCeater

    I was hoping this was a typo and it was Kate Gosselin that hanged herself. Now that would have been cool.

    • TM

      Yeah, cause you’d find it so cool if your mom committed suicide. Lovely.

  • Lizzie

    Mistakes were made having him on this show and the meanest of it all and his wife really put pressures on him for wanting to continue a lifestyle he could not afford………a shame………

  • zuzufan

    Now mom or ex will probably capitalize MORE from this…oh America, land of opportunities!

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