Jane Velez-Mitchell: When reality TV shows the messy side of life
August 16th, 2011
03:51 PM ET

Jane Velez-Mitchell: When reality TV shows the messy side of life

Real life is often sloppy, tragic, ugly, embarrassing, unglamorous and not made for TV.

That is the sad truth that lurks just outside of camera range, waiting to reveal itself to today’s reality TV culture. Unfortunately, it just got revealed.

This just in: It appears Russell Armstrong killed himself. His beautiful, blond wife, Taylor Armstrong, of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fame had filed for divorce just last month. She claimed he was physically abusive to her. The celebrity gossip sites had a field day.

News reports claimed other women from his past had gotten restraining orders against him and that he had a rap sheet. And then there were the reported money problems that claimed this former venture capitalist was deep in debt.

This can be a symptom of trying to appear wealthy in that parallel universe known as Beverly Hills. It doesn’t take a forensic psychologist to do the math. Public downfalls are more painful and humiliating than private ones. This man appeared to be on a long, slow-motion tumble down a steep hill in D-lister country.

Fame is often called a deal with the devil. Reality show fame is a really bad deal with the devil. At one point Russell even told People magazine, “This show has literally pushed us to the limit.” Cast members, meanwhile, are tweeting their condolences.

My heart goes out to his 5-year-old daughter, whom he had with Taylor, and his son from a previous relationship.

We're talking more about this shocking twist in what once appeared to be a fairytale, Hollywood romance. What could have led to this tragedy? Was it the pressure of reality TV? That’s tonight on "Issues" at 7 p.m. ET.

Watch ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell Monday through Sunday at 7pm ET on HLN. For the latest from ISSUES click here.

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Filed under: TV-Issues

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Debby

    Well whats your show Mitchell it certainly isn't journalism!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. charlie crack

    Terrible that he was that down....

    August 17, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Atlas

    I am a 29 years old computer engineer and now I am seeking a nice woman for a stable relationship,so I got a username Alexwing432 on-Meetrich.C óM---it's the most effective site in the world to connect with, date and marry successful, beautiful people.Meanwhile,it's worthy a try.The best part is that it's completely free, unlike all the other paid dating sites.You do not have to be rich or famous!

    August 17, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. oh she did

    Oh yes she did help him do it. she is a b**ch. not even divorce and she was already making out with a young guy in public lobby dor everyone to see.

    August 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JLD

    Russell Armstrong's lawyer is just making a terrible story worse! Can't believe he's getting the attention he is. His client dies and he's tweeting about getting interviewed by TMZ. He's sharing private information discussed by his client before the guy's even buried. He's blaming reality TV and Bravo for everything, but was on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing show himself (http://la.curbed.com/archives/2008/08/million_dollar_listing_recapped_ep_2_thats_what_ron_richards_wants.php)! Lacking conscience and riding the coat tails of tragedy to gain face time. Disgusting.

    August 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Anyone still believe reality tv is like real life??? Anyone??? What a pile of crap. The real housewives of B.H. can kiss my ***. I don't feel sorry for any of them, except the kids, they didn't do anything.

    August 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Linda Shearsmith

    Did he ever consider therapy?He should of done that much for his children.

    August 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Evel Knievel

    Who?

    August 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. susan dickerman

    It seems to me that so many of these so called new celebrities appear to have more money than they in truth have. There seems to be a true common denominator in these women of the housewives series + their husbands. It also seems unbelievable as well that bravo is making tons of money on these people. I can't understand why we are all so hooked + yet at least I know , none of them are what they appear. To be. Even the celeb rehab patients are airing their dirty laundry all for the power of the buck

    August 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. susan

    Ugliness, misfortune and tragedy are going to happen regardless if it's in front of camera's or not. This couple made their choices, all their choices so who's to say the outcome would have been any different regardless of Bravo TV or not. I find it ironic that we use these reality show trainwrecks as entertainment and then blame them when something really real happens.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ladycoper

    that relationship was anythinng but a fairytale romance. they had problems from day one which were more than evident to anyone who watched. as for the abuse, that too was there from the get go as well. since when is an abused woman supposed to keep quiet? if the man has the balls to hit a woman behind closed doors, he should be man enough to accept the repercusions publicly. if all women went public the first time, domestic violence wouldnt be the epidemic that it is!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kelli Watkins

    This is too sad! Unfortunately now, the children suffer....

    August 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. yikes people

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QQtq7lQKqI&w=640&h=390]

    August 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. toni stewart

    He knew his past. He should have just said no to the show. Fame blinded him.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. candy

    I believe Taylor shares some responsibility for his death. To
    live your life in front of cameras and then to come out publicly and destroy him with claims of abuse, she may as well have bought the rope. Sad for the children.....

    August 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • UnrealPeople!

      Seriously? She didn't put that noose around his neck and make him the coward he is. How dare you write such a thing and heaven forbid she ever reads it. She is still human. His cowardly act was intended to be the last abuse he could ever inflict on her and she and her daughter will suffer everyday for the rest of their lives with guilt. She did the right thing by filing for a divorce. Better than the alternative of him abusing or possibly killing her and her daughter. He chose to be on that show. She didn't hold a gun to his head!

      August 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • angelia

      I remember when Lisa kept saying he wsn't much to look at and made it clear she thought he ws ugly ! her husband looks like that dog with all the wrinkles they all are to blame for him taking his life!

      August 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Philip

    This is why I am not of facebook, myspace, twitter or any of the similar. I have no desire for fame. I do not want to be recognized by anyone other than those I am close to. I like living a life of humble anonymity. Discretion is highly underrated.

    I wish the best for all involved, especially the kids. Tragic.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  17. greg

    I would kill myself too if I wore glasses.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Chucklehead

    They wanted reality, well I guess suicide is as real as it gets.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  19. "jump on the band wagon jane"

    anything for your ratings, right janey???

    August 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |

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