You don’t need to be a fan of The Real Housewives to know that Taylor Armstrong of the Beverly Hills season endured a violent marriage. The wife and mother’s domestic abuse was covered in tabloids and blogs right up until her husband Russell Armstrong committed suicide last summer. And now the reality star has penned a book about her abusive marriage entitled Hiding From Reality in which she says that she hoped signing on to the TV series would actually keep she and her daughter Kennedy Armstrong safe.
Us got an excerpt of the book that details all kinds of abuse including assaults while in the car and Taylor’s attempts to defend herself. Russell also apparently would get upset with himself following these attacks, telling his wife that he was fearful that he might kill her. But despite her account of having her eye socket broken, the most disturbing portion of Taylor’s narrative is her belief that being on TV would keep her safe:
“I figured that having my life on camera would encourage Russell to control his temper and help our relationship. This may sound delusional, given all I had been through, but my dream was that Russell would change.”
Russell would also verbally attack little Kennedy, once screaming at her that her mother was a “bitch” and a “whore.” Taylor was approached by Bravo to appear in the series all while this abuse was occurring. And yet producers, camera persons, and other behinds the scenes figures don’t seem to have considered slowing or perhaps halting production to help this woman and child. I realize Bravo doesn’t present itself as any higher than a guilty pleasure network, but to film the life of a woman being consistently physically abused, all the while editing together portions of her life for the sake of furthering a scripted story line, is beyond exploitative.