Russell Armstrong's death: How the family wants Bravo to proceed
The family of Russell Armstrong, the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” husband found dead Monday night, thinks Bravo should edit footage of Armstrong -- and those associated with him -- out of the show, according to Ronald Richards, Armstrong’s attorney.
Richards told Showtracker Thursday that “everyone on Russell’s side wants Bravo to edit him out and any characters affiliated with him this season” — including footage of Taylor Armstrong. “It would be bad taste for all three of Russell’s children to air scenes of their father who is dead.”
The sentiment echoes one made earlier Thursday morning by Armstrong’s nephew, Austin Kelsoe, who appeared on "Good Morning America": "I think, in my opinion, Russell should be edited out, in respect to Taylor and the family," Kelsoe said. "In my personal opinion, Bravo should take the high road and do what they think is the right thing to do."
A person close to Taylor's camp says the "Real Housewives" star has spoken to no one but family and lawyers, but "she’s aware that the network is intently discussing all the issues that are relevant to making a decision."
Although the second season of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" was originally scheduled to premiere Sept. 5, the network has not yet made a decision on whether the season will be postponed or re-edited—and offered no concrete timeline on when a judgment will likely happen.
Armstrong was found dead at a Mullholland Drive home on Monday night after hanging himself. An autopsy performed Wednesday confirmed that his death was a suicide.
The decision on how to handle the delicate situation is no doubt a tough one for the network: Russell Armstrong is likely to be integral to Taylor’s storyline for the second season, with cameras documenting her struggle to save their marriage. In a screener of the upcoming season premiere, which was mailed to television media a couple of weeks ago, Taylor is shown buying lingerie in an attempt to spice up their love life and discussing their attempt at couples therapy. One source told the Times that Bravo filmed the couple’s therapy sessions — something a network spokesperson couldn’t confirm.
Cutting footage of Russell, while still keeping Taylor in the show discussing her marriage, would be a glaring reminder of Armstrong’s death. And editing Taylor out completely seems almost impossible given how many group activities take place in the series.
Should the network decide to proceed with airing the current footage, Richards said he would take some sort of action on behalf of the family.
But it’s not the only problem the network has to contend with: RadarOnline.com has an interview with Armstrong’s stepbrother, Wade Jackson, who said the family is considering taking legal action against the network for Armstrong's death -- something Richards disputed.
“This is his stepbrother — his extended family,” Richards said. “I’ve spoken to his biological mother and father, and there are no present plans to file any lawsuit. The stepbrother has no standing as a matter of law to file any type of wrongful death claim."
Photo: Russell Armstrong, center, and Taylor are shown at her birthday party in the first season of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo