Just two months before taking his own life, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Russell Armstrong met with Maer Roshan—founder of the now defunct Radar magazine—to discuss investing in Roshan's latest venture TheFix.com, a website about addiction and recovery. Their two-and-a-half hour discussion turned out to be Armstrong's final interview, one in which he professed his love and admiration for his wife Taylor (just two weeks before she filed for divorce) and his disdain for the "evil" producers at Bravo, whom he blamed for ruining his life.
Armstrong was apparently very much interested in addiction and recovery because of his sister, who had been addicted to crystal meth until Armstrong paid for her treatment at the tony Malibu Beach Recovery center, and his father, an alcoholic. He showed up late for his meeting with The Fix and said, "I'm sure you think I'm a total douchebag," to which Roshan replied, "Uh, kind of."
"Well, you shouldn't believe everything you see on TV!" Apparently Armstrong was under the impression that these people were put off by how he came across on The Real Housewives, rather than that he'd kept two sober people waiting in a hotel bar late at night for a half hour. He referred to himself as a "pathetic stock character" and "just a guy I play on TV." Regular viewers of the show might find it weird that he was apparently so obsessed with supposedly being vilified on reality TV. At best, he came across as a doting father and hard worker. At worst, he came across as a cold workaholic who was perhaps out of touch with his wife's emotional needs. The persona of the "monster Russell" only emerged in the months before his death as his shady business dealings and alleged violent behavior came to light in the press. Still, Armstrong blamed everything on the show and the network:
"Everything you see on that show is bullshit…Those Bravo bastards take every little argument out of context and just magnify it. They think that tension drives ratings, and of course they're right. At first I was angry about all the bullshit, but then I realized it's not so bad to be a celebrity. The thing is, all the publicity has been great for my business," he said, flashing a pained smile. "Taylor and I lie in bed watching these stories about our terrible marriage, and we laugh."
A lot of red flags were raised while reading this interview—one being that Armstrong had several martinis while talking business with the founders of an addiction and recovery website, another being that he seemed to be doing damage control (two weeks before news of their separation and any allegations of domestic abuse had been made) about his relationship with his wife saying over and over, "We are really, really happy."
After Armstrong's death, Roshan got in touch with his sister Laurie Kelsoe—the recovering crystal meth addict—and while she does hold Bravo accountable for her brother's death, she places most of the blame on his wife Taylor, even going so far as to say that Taylor stole watches, car keys and thousands of dollars in cash from Russell's bedroom after she discovered his lifeless body:
"We knew she was a phony from the beginning, but Russell wouldn't hear of it."
"He spent all his savings to maintain Taylor's illusion that they were wealthier than they were. He did anything to make sure she was happy, but nothing was ever enough."
"His biggest mistake was falling in love with Taylor."
"Taylor is a liar and a thief."
"Her entire life's ambition was to become a Housewife-you know, she was pregnant when they got married. She wanted a man, she wanted tons of money. and she wanted to be in the limelight. She's just a gold-digger who reinvented herself and dragged my brother down in the process."