Three 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' set a stage for premiere
With "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" set to premiere Monday night, Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump spoke out for the first time since the suicide of Russell Armstrong, estranged husband of "RHOBH" cast member Taylor Armstrong.
The suicide came as "a complete shock to all of us," said Richards, appearing Monday on the "Today" show with her fellow "Housewives" and executive producer Douglas Ross.
Ross said that the "RHOBH" team and Bravo "took a hard look at the show ... and we decided to make some adjustments where appropriate in light of the circumstances."
One adjustment: The cast members, minus Taylor, participated in a taped sit-down in late August to discuss Armstrong's Aug. 15 death. That discussion will air ahead of Monday's premiere.
"In the first few episodes that we've completed editing, Russell is not included in those episodes," Ross said, "but ... Taylor's story is told throughout the season." The show, he said, tells the stories of all six women, not only the Armstrongs' situation.
Maloof said she'd never felt pressured by producers to create drama. "We lead and they follow," she said. "We kind of create and they document."
Richards said she doesn't think "Housewives" pushed Russell Armstrong over the edge. "He also signed up for this, season one," she said, "and came back for season two."
Lisa Vanderpump said the women never considered shelving the season, which was shot over the last six months or so.
"We all had to reflect at some point" after the death, she said, "but then, it would really be sweeping suicide under the rug, and ... that's what we didn't want to do. We wanted to bring it to the forefront."
"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" premieres Monday at 9 p.m. Watch the full interview below.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: The cast of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Credit: Bravo