Now that she's on her book tour for her memoir, Hiding From Reality: My Story of Love, Loss and Finding the Courage Within, that was released Tuesday—perfectly timed to coincide with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion shows—Taylor Armstrong has been telling her tale of her troubled marriage to her late husband Russell to various media outlets (Today, The View, Entertainment Tonight to name just a few). What The Daily Beast's Diane Dimond—who also interviewed Taylor—has discovered is that her accounts of the events don't always add up, something that Taylor's fellow Housewives have hinted at during this past season, and again on last night's installment of the three-part reunion show. In her book, she's published the specific dates on which the more violent episodes of abuse occurred. We were able to dig up photos of Taylor at parties following these events and her appearance is not consistent with someone who has a severe black eye or a dislocated jaw.
Dimond makes several good points, and although none of them prove anything one way or another, they definitely cast doubt on Taylor's allegations and reasons for writing the book. (Taylor claims she wrote the book to help other victims of domestic violence, others believe it's to cash in on a tragedy, as she inked her book deal just three weeks after Russell committed suicide.) The first is regarding an alleged beating that occurred on June 11, 2011, from which Taylor was so badly injured that she nearly lost her eye. Back in September, Taylor discussed the incident on Dr. Phil, saying that she was beaten when the couple returned home from the Four Seasons after celebrating her 40th birthday. When speaking to The Daily Beast, she says the abuse happened in their hotel room. Dimond notes that the next day, Taylor tweeted:
Now we're pool side at the 4 seasons and i am thinking of never leaving … i had the BEST birthday party ever! thank you Russell and all my crazy pals who joined in on the mayhem.
When asked why she would stay the next day and party at the pool with a black eye Taylor said, "No, no. I had orbital floor blowout-never a black eye from the punch." So what's with that infamous photo of her black eye that she showed on Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, and included in her book? Taylor says that was taken after reconstructive surgery she received on July 5, 2011, more than 25 days after the abuse. Taylor had filmed several key scenes for Real Housewives in that time (including the scene at Kyle Richards' White Party, from which Taylor and Russell were turned away). The photo to the left was taken on June 20, 2011, only 8 days after the abuse. This doesn't necessarily contradict her claims that Russell's punch has damaged the orbital floor of her right eye, but she certainly circulated those pictures with the implication that the bruising was from his hand, and not from a surgery. (She all but showed off the same bruise to her cast mates on the finale episode of Housewives during Lisa's grand opening of her restaurant on July 14, as a way to prove her naysayers.)
Another story oft repeated is when Taylor says Russell beat her so badly after a Superbowl Party last year that he dislocated her jaw. She described the incident in graphic detail to several media outlets, including to Andy Cohen on last week's reunion show of Real Housewives, saying she had to painfully pop her jaw back in place while hanging over a toilet. However, in her book, and in her interview with The Daily Beast, Taylor says she was in bed when this happened. The photo to the right was taken just days later, and she exhibits none of the signs the National Institutes of Health reports occur after jaw dislocations: "drooling, facial swelling and bruising, difficulty talking or smiling."
When asked if she had "exaggerated" her claims of physical abuse, Taylor denies it, although she tells Dimond:
I mean the ‘dislocated ‘ word-I mean, I think I described it as ‘out of place' and in the editing they thought it was confusing so they used ‘dislocation.' There was no medical diagnosis for that. But it really hurt! It was more painful than my eye.
None of this proves that Taylor wasn't a victim of abuse. And let's face it, there's plenty of evidence that Russell wasn't a nice guy. Put Taylor's past as a grifter who changed her name from Shana Hughes to Shanna Taylor to Taylor Ford (telling people she was an heiress of the Ford Motors family) before marrying Russell, makes anything she says a little suspect.