Taylor Armstrong, a cast member of the Bravo reality television show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, delves into her problematic marriage with late husband, Russell, in her book Hiding From Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within.
Armstrong went into what was allegedly an abusive relationship with her husband, who committed suicide in August 2011. She pinpointed one of her worst moments in an interview with the Today Show.
I would say whenever I was on my knees over a toilet with my jaw not in the place that it was supposed to be, she said. There was saliva running out of my mouth and I was thinking to myself, 'How am I not going to call an ambulance? How am I going to protect him? I don't want him to go to jail. What do I do if I can't get my jaw back in place?
Here are six points from Armstrong's book:
She was attracted by violence
Armstrong alleges that her late husband recounted stories of physical altercations. She admitted that it was kind of a draw: Also, I have to admit that the scared little girl inside of me felt safe being with a man who told me he had fought Golden Gloves and would brag about beating people up. Russell made it clear that he would do anything to keep me safe. And even if the cost of protection was that he also turned his aggressive personality on me, as far as I was concerned, having that shield around me made everything else worthwhile.
Her daughter had an inkling
Armstrong wrote that she and her husband were very careful to not let on about their problems in front of their small daughter, Kennedy. But even she sensed something was wrong, according to Armstrong: But that winter, Kennedy, who was just turning five at the time, began to exhibit signs that the abuse was starting to affect her after all. When Russell and I were talking alone in the office, or the bedroom, she would come in and sit on my lap or stand in the room with her arms crossed, staring at us, and she refused to leave us alone. It got to the point where we couldn't talk about any serious topics because she was always there watching over our conversations. It was as if she considered it her responsibility to protect me from her father.
And she kept on filming...
Armstrong wrote about continuing to film the show while going through therapy with her husband, who was on medication at the time, and said it was good for her: Of course, to complicate matters, we were living all of this out in front of the cameras during season two of the show. I still faced the cameras every day, no matter what was going on behind closed doors at home. In some ways, in spite of these pressures, I was happier with season two than season one because I felt like I became more relaxed in front of the cameras. I think I also was more comfortable with myself in general, probably as a result of my therapy. And it was possible during season two to see a lot more of who I really am as a person.
When the media caught whiff that Russell had been arrested for domestic abuse charges from his first wife, the negative portrayals started pouring in. Armstrong wrote that she didn't take any pleasure in the media's bashing of him: It was embarrassing for me to have people know how much I had put up with for so long. And even more than that, I still loved Russell, and I felt terrible for him, especially because I could tell that all of these pressures were having a negative impact on him.
He didn't want another son
Armstrong alleges that when she was pregnant, Russell only wanted to keep their unborn child if it was a girl, as he already had two sons, one from his first wife, another from a former fiancée: Russell had me so completely in his control by then that I never would have jeopardized our relationship, even for something I had now come to want so badly for myself.
She still misses him
Armstrong's book ends on a confusing note. After spending more than 200 pages going through the problematic -- and allegedly abusive -- relationship she had with her late husband, she admits in the second-to-last paragraph that it's been difficult to let go of him: Sometimes I sit in our closet and hold the last shirt he ever wore. I can smell Russell in the fabric, and I miss him terribly. Then there are times when I round a corner in my home and I feel terrified, as if he is going to jump out at me. It confuses me that I can love and fear him equally. But I still do.